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Former football superstar Ronaldinho wins a pig in prison futsal competition



On remand: Ronaldinho is facing fraud charges.

On remand: Ronaldinho is facing fraud charges.

On remand: Ronaldinho is facing fraud charges.

Ronaldinho, the Brazilian footballer who lifted the World Cup in 2002, added an unlikely trophy to his personal honours when he helped a team of inmates in a Paraguayan jail to win a pig.

The 39-year-old former Barcelona star is on remand at a high-security prison near Asuncion on charges of possessing fraudulent documents.

On Friday, Ronaldinho played in a five-a-side futsal tournament with fellow inmates, scoring five goals in an 11-2 victory for his team.

He was photographed posing with the champions' trophy and wearing his trademark grin. The victors were also awarded a 16kg pig, to be barbecued and shared among them.

The prison is known for housing high-profile inmates such as members of organised crime gangs.

During the match, the two-time World Player of the Year was marked by Miguel Cuevas, a former MP accused of corruption.

Ronaldinho was arrested alongside his brother, Assis, on March 4, after police found them to be in possession of fake Paraguayan passports. Brazilian citizens do not require passports to enter Paraguay due to the Mercosur trade agreement.

A lawyer for Ronaldinho argued that he thought he had received Paraguayan citizenship "as a gift".

"He didn't know he was committing a crime... he's daft", said solicitor Adolfo Marin.

The motive behind the alleged crime is unclear, though legal experts have pointed out that owning a Paraguayan passport would make Ronaldinho eligible to obtain an E2 investor visa for the US, which is unavailable to Brazilian citizens.

A trial date has not been set and he could remain in detention for up to six months.

On Thursday, a court rejected a request to put the brothers under house arrest, citing a risk of them fleeing to Brazil. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent