Rio de Janeiro, Sep 6 (IANS) Football great Ronaldinho has been appointed Brazil’s tourism ambassador despite a court ruling that prevents him from leaving the South American country.
The 39-year-old was one of 15 people with “an international profile” chosen to promote Brazil as a tourist destination abroad, the government’s Embratur tourism agency said in a statement, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I hope to continue to speak positively about our country wherever I go, inviting people to come here. It makes me very proud,” Ronaldinho said.’
The announcement came just hours after Brazil’s Supreme Court upheld a decision to ban Ronaldinho from traveling abroad.
The former Barcelona attacker had his passport seized last November after prosecutors said he failed to pay a fine resulting from a 2015 court case.
Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto Assis, were fined 8.5 million reais ($2.3 million) after being found guilty of building a fishing platform on the Guaiba river in southern Brazil without the necessary permits. The structure was located in a heritage-protected area.
A two-time recipient of the FIFA world player of the year award and a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, Ronaldinho retired from football last year.