Not too long ago, news broke in Spain that football superstar and Brazil legend Ronaldinho was in debt to the tune of £1.75 million. For someone with the huge acumen of the icon, it was bizarre that as little as £1.75 million would be too much to pay. But that isn’t the core of the matter. It was also reported in Spain that the former Barcelona ace is now left with a miserly £5.24 in his bank account.
A situation hard to believe
It’s difficult to comprehend those numbers, to say the least. How does a super-rich megastar who won The FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2004 and 2005 become that broke so quickly?
In his glittering career which spanned nearly 20 years, Ronaldinho won nearly every competition he played in for club and country. That includes a FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Copa America, the UEFA Champions League and Spain’s La Liga.
Many considered him the world’s most glamorous footballer before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo took the stage. But neither of the younger generation superhumans was a better showboater.
The star with the toothy grin was revered by football purists worldwide. And such veneration usually comes with wads of cash flying your way. It did for Ronaldinho.
Besides earning almost a million pounds per month during his time at Barcelona, Ronaldinho grossed £19 million from endorsements in 2006 alone. He later moved to AC Milan where his monthly wages stood at £480,000. A subsequent transfer to Flamengo saw him secure a £100,000-per-week deal.
To add to an already bulging bank balance, Ronaldinho had endorsement contracts with the likes of Coca-Cola, EA Sports, Gatorade, Nike, Pepsi and a few others. In 2015, Ronaldinho’s net worth was pegged at £80-100 million.
How does one fall off such a high horse?
The problems have been accumulating over the years
It all began when Flamengo couldn’t pay his huge wages in 2012. Ronaldinho’s pay tumbled from £100,000 per week to £24,000-a-week. The contract was soon cut short because the Brazilian club couldn’t pay that figure either.
Ronaldinho then signed for Fluminense for a reported £150,000-per-month. That deal was also terminated in a short time due to lack of payment.
In 2014 his deal with Coca-Cola was terminated after he was filmed sipping a can of Pepsi during his unveiling with Atletico Mineiro.
Earlier this year, Ronaldinho was fined heavily by Brazilian authorities for illegally constructing a building in a protected area. It was said that the ex-footballer had to remortgage his property to come up with funds to service debts.
Life in the fast lane
Ronaldinho was famed for his flamboyant, playboy, partying lifestyle. That was the chief reason why he became overweight before leaving Barcelona.
Besides his you-only-live-once lifestyle, the 38-year-old lavished millions on luxurious cars, including a yellow Porsche Carerra S, a black and a yellow Lamborghini Aventador, a silver Mercedes Benz E class, a red and yellow Ferrari 48s, a Bugatti Veyron and a Hummer H2.
The star also purchased luxurious houses in Spain, Brazil, Greece, Florida and Lake Como.
Confirmed reports have it on good authority that Ronaldinho’s international passport has been seized by Brazilian authorities until he can liquidate his humongous debt.
This action was taken after it was discovered the football legend has close to nothing in his bank account.
Although he is due to take part in a charity game in Germany on November 17, Ronaldinho is stuck in Brazil for the foreseeable future because he’s broke. To that effect, we’re only left with plenty of questions and very few answers.Published 07 Nov 2018, 16:33 IST