RONALDINHO’S mum’s funeral has taken place without the Brazilian legend present.
The former Barcelona and AC Milan star was too grief-stricken to attend the wake and Sunday's burial of Miguelina Eloi Assis dos Santos.
His older brother Roberto and sister Deisi were present to pay their last respects to their 71-year-old mum, who died on Saturday following complications in her long battle against coronavirus.
A spokesman for the Jardim da Paz Cemetery in Porto Alegre said the 40-year-old former footballer was too “upset” to accompany them.
Ronaldinho, who revealed in December his beloved mum was fighting for her life after falling ill with coronavirus, has yet to comment on Miguelina’s death.
But like other members of his family he changed his social media profile pictures to black in a clear sign of the emotional turmoil he was experiencing.
A relative posted several family photos on his Instagram page with messages of support from well-wishers.
Ronaldinho revealed on December 21 Miguelina was in hospital, telling his Twitter followers: “Dear friends. My mum has Covid and we’re fighting for her to recover.
“She is in intensive care and is receiving all the care she needs.
“I’m thankful for your prayers, your positive energy and the affection you’ve always shown. Stay strong mum.”
The football icon, who had to self-isolate himself for two weeks after testing positive for coronavirus last October, made no further comments on social media about her fight against Covid.
Ronaldinho revealed during an interview when he was under house arrest at a luxury hotel in Paraguay over a fake passport scandal last year that the first thing he planned to do when he was freed was “give my mum a big kiss”.
He added: “She’s been experiencing a difficult time of it since the start of the coronavirus crisis."
The two-times winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award admitted at the start of 2013 that he came close to leaving the game when his mum’s life was in danger because of cancer.
He was playing for Flamengo when she fell ill in 2012.
He admitted in a Brazilian TV interview after she recovered: “When my mum fell ill, I said I wouldn’t be able to carry on playing.
“I thought the time had come to stop and take care of her.
“Everyone gave me strength. I experienced a lot of things and it was really difficult but the fans were by side.
“They took a flag with her face on it to the stadium and hugged me.”
Miguelina sold cosmetics door-to-door in Porto Alegre when he was a child but later studied to become a nurse.
The former footballer’s dad Joao de Assis Moreira, who drowned in a swimming pool accident when Ronaldinho was just eight, was a shipyard worker and footballer.
He and his brother Roberto de Assis Moreira flew back to Brazil at the end of August after a forced stay of nearly six months in Paraguay.
Their return to Brazil came 24 hours after they were told they would not be put on trial over a fake passport scandal after their lawyer struck a deal with state prosecutors which was rubber-stamped by a judge.
Roberto was freed with a criminal record after pleading guilty to using a false document and being given a suspended prison sentence.
The siblings were ordered to pay around £153,000 in compensation, with Ronaldinho having to pay £68,000 of the total and his brother the rest.
Ronaldinho and his brother were arrested on March 6 last year after entering Paraguay to launch an online casino and a book with doctored passports falsely showing they were naturalised Paraguayan citizens. The passports had been issued to two women before being modified.
The former footballer spent his 40th birthday in prison before he and his brother were allowed to move to the four-star Palmaroga Hotel in the Paraguayan capital as part of a house arrest deal.
Ronaldinho’s former team-mate Lionel Messi was among those who offered the Brazilian star his condolences as news of Miguelina's death emerged.
He wrote on Instagram: “Ronnie, I have no words, I can’t believe it. Just sending you a lot of strength and a big hug for you and your family.
“I’m so sorry, rest in peace.”
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