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Friday, September 06, 2019, 14:55
Ronaldinho named Brazil tourism ambassador
By Associated Press
Friday, September 06, 2019, 14:55 By Associated Press

Brazilian former footballer Ronaldinho Gaucho attends a press conference during a ceremony to stamp his footprints at the Mineirao Stadium's football museum in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais state, Brazil, on May 21, 2018. (DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP)

RIO DE JANEIRO - Football great Ronaldinho has been appointed Brazil's tourism ambassador despite a court ruling that prevents him from leaving the South American country.

I hope to continue to speak positively about our country wherever I go, inviting people to come here. It makes me very proud

Ronaldinho

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.

ALSO READ: Ronaldinho honored at Rio's Maracana hall of fame

"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 (US$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.

READ MORE: Lawyer explains Ronaldinho's Globe Soccer awards absence

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.

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