Brazil’s soccer star, Ronaldo "Ronaldinho Gaucho" de Assis Moreira, has stepped away from the sports stadiums and entered the political arena after announcing his adoption of the Evangelical Brazilian Republican Party (PRB).
Brazil: Ex Soccer Star Romario to Run for Governor of Rio
Ronaldinho, 38, joined the political party on Tuesday, saying he wanted to “give something back to his country.” Together with his brother and manager, Roberto de Assis Moreira, the 2002 world champion and ‘05 Golden Ball winner resigned from his football career in January.
"I am happy to be able to participate in a project that seeks the improvement of our country and that brings modernity, happiness, and health for the entire population," said Ronaldinho in a press release.
During his sports career, the former soccer idol played for teams such as Gremio, PSG, Barcelona, Milan, Atlético Mineiro and Flamengo before announcing his retirement after a two-year respite.
“At the moment, it has not been determined if he will run for public office. But in the pre-campaign, it could be that he or his brother are named candidates,” a party member told AFP.
FIFA Chief: Do Not Make Trouble at World Cup, Russia Is Ready
However, Rio de Janerio's evangelical mayor, Marcelo Crivella, a PRB party member, said he and the former soccer player will work together to plan various proposals for both the Federal District of Brasilia and the nation.
“Many political parties are seeking out famous persons who are famous in other areas, like football, to become candidates,” said University of Brasilia Political Science Professor David Fleischer to the Guardian.
PRB president Wanderley Taveres said he was first introduced to Ronaldinho by a mutual friend, "He said to me, ‘I have already realized many dreams in my football career here in Brazil and abroad."
The athlete waited until after the Tuesday entrance ceremony to announce his decision to join the party.
The ultra-conservative party, which is supported by the neo-Pentecostal Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is part of the coalition which supports the incumbent president, Michel Temer.
The party was behind the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and has also been linked to Brazil's biggest money laundering corruption case in the nation's history, the notorious Car Wash Scandal.