Brazilian football superstar, Ronaldinho Gaucho, has been appointed as one of the new tourist ambassadors of Brazil in far-right Jair Bolsonaro’s government, despite the fact that he is forbidden to travel outside the country by court order since November 2018.
The decision was announced last week by the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur) in coordination with the country’s Ministry of Tourism.
According to the institute, the renowned player will voluntarily help in various campaigns that are designed to promote tourism in the country, and that will be effective through the use of social media, where the player has more than 100 million followers.
“Tourism is very important to generate jobs and recover our image internationally,” said the former Brazilian soccer player, who is an outspoken supporter of the far-right president.
However, Ronaldinho, who is one of 15 people with a well-known international profile, is an ambassador that won’t be able to leave the country, as he has a travel ban for not paying a fine resulting from a court ruling in 2015.
Both the former player and his brother, Roberto Assis, were convicted in 2015 of environmental damage following the illegal construction of a fishing net in the Guaiba Lake, a preservation area in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil.
The Brazilian judges withdrew Ronaldinho’s passport last November after the soccer player refused to pay the fine of around US$2 million or the damage caused.
On Sep. 2, the Brazilian justice denied the request to have the passport released, made by the former player of Barcelona Football Club. The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court of Rio Grande do Sul state said the documents will be retained until the payment regarding the trial process is duly canceled.
Ronaldinho retired from soccer just last year. He was FIFA’s world player of the year twice and World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002.