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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Three titles, one tragedy and plenty of criminal energy! The curious career of Ronaldinho’s brother

Ronaldinho’s big brother “Assis” also had a great career in mind. But the huge talent never became a star.

Two-time world footballer Ronaldinho was considered by many to be the idol of the Brazilian way of playing football. Tricky, successful and always a stroke of genius in store. But Ronaldinho needn’t have been the only great kicker in his family. His big brother Roberto, better known under the name “Assis”, also had a star career ahead of him. But tragedy, injuries and crime changed everything.

At the age of eleven, Assis joined the youth academy of the Brazilian first division club Gremio and was compared to Diego Maradona early on for his incredible dribbling. At the age of 16, FC Torino from Italy sought Assis. Gremio didn’t want to let go of his jewel and, in addition to a new contract, also offered him a house with a swimming pool for his family. Assis decided against the European adventure and for his homeland and family.

The Brazilian club would not regret their hefty offer for the 16-year-old: Assis led Gremio to three consecutive championships from 1988-90. But during the period of sporting success, tragedy struck in the family.

Ronaldinho and Assis’ father was found dead in the family’s swimming pool after suffering a heart attack. Assis was suddenly no longer just a big brother, but a kind of father figure two days before his 18th birthday.

Sporty things went downhill for Assis

Assi’s career then went downhill. A serious injury in 1991 left him out for eight months, after which he moved to FC Sion in Switzerland. In terms of sport, the change was a downgrade, but financially it was a good package, especially for the family. After good performances, he moved on to Sporting Lisbon. In the following seven years Assis played for eight different teams in Brazil and Europe, but Assis was not successful with any team.

Retiring at the age of 31, he has been looking after the burgeoning career of his younger brother Ronaldinho as an agent since the early 2000s. A momentous decision by Ronaldinho. “He put his whole life in his brother’s hands. You can’t understand that decision, it was a stupid decision that was difficult to accept,” former Brazil striker Walter Casagrande said in an interview with Global Esports.

Bankruptcy rumors and arrests – Assi’s influence on ex-Barca star Ronaldinho is not in a good light. Assis ran into legal trouble in 2003 when he was arrested and sentenced to five years and five months in a “semi-open trial” for money laundering.

Even after Ronaldinho’s successful career, Assis continued to have a bad influence on his brother. Together, the brothers traveled to Paraguay in 2020 with false passports and ended up in prison for five months.

His sporting career had potential for great things. But Assis didn’t use his talent, so in the end his little brother enjoyed the big career and the laurels.


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