McLovin It

In Paraguay, former Brazilian football megastar Ronaldinho has been arrested for entering the country on fake documents. Yes, this is one of a handful of the most recognisable people on the planet, and the said document was in his own real name. It’s stratospherically wacko.

In fact, this was no border incident per se, and he had his collar felt only after having attended several promotional events for his new book, Genio de la Vida which assuming some artistic licence should be translated from the Portuguese to mean, A Bit of a Tit.

Genius of Life would be arguably testing already shredded incredulity.

Still, it makes you wonder why he hadn’t been stopped by Brazilian police as he was crossing the border out, because you would think that even a functionary at the China-Mongolia frontier would have cottoned on to these japes. Perhaps part of his cunning stunt was to leave Brazil to a third country under his own passport but then enter Paraguay via Argentina or Bolivia under the false papers? He could even have bolstered his cover by cleansing his hands with alcoholic gel to boost his COVID-19 credentials while looking like an evil plan-hatcher.

I mean, there would be no benefit to that, but then again, there was no benefit to any of it. He actually had all the bona fide Brazilian documentation.

Even more wackadoodle was the assertion from a representative that, ‘An official identified himself, and Ronaldinho handed him the first thing he found in his bag’. So, we should at least be thankful that he didn’t present some travel sickness pills or a crossword puzzle book.

Whatever the ruse and the rationale for it, the ease of this passport chicanery must be a boon for all those criminals considering South America as a potential bolthole. Pretty surprising that nobody else had ever thought of that in the course of history, heh?

You never know, some EU-sponsored leaflet drops over Syria and Turkey in the next month or so might help to solve the European migrant crisis by pointing them all towards the Americas. Don’t bet against all those political opportunists out there launching in for some of the action.

Nevertheless, back to the perennially happy Ronaldinho who appears to have evaded all charges, mainly because prosecutors were half-expecting the arresting officer to start removing her clothes to the prominent trombone slides of The Stripper.

The only discernible punishment is likely to have been the psychological drain of the endless pictures with police and an Oscars-style selfie with the staff at the attorney general’s office. But for a guy who could shimmy away from any social obloquy for sporting a gelled perm for 20 years straight since the new millennium, he’s very probably untouchable.

The press did report 8 hours of questioning, but you just know that this was an extended attempt to convince the cops that his coiling, looping, sliced cross in over David Seaman’s head in 2002 hadn’t been a monstrous fluke.

Now, for the foreseeable future, the legacy of this minor frisson of tomfoolery will be that his agent is going to be inundated with requests from underaged teenagers gagging for him to support their Friday night booze-buying escapades.

If presenting a fake ID at Bargain Booze garners kudos, then breaking out an obviously bent passport at a border for the sheer cheek of it accords instant Daddy status. Only bettered if he’d flashed his own Panini card.

The great thing about Ronaldinho though – legendary football prowess aside – has been his uncanny ability to keep smiling whatever happens. Red card, smile. Pending multi-million-dollar divorce, smile. Pulled in Paraguay for a bogus document caper, smile. Mind you, for a guy with £70m in the bank who can earn £205,000 per Instagram post, what’s there to be glum about?

For the rest of us though, are we truly surprised that this kind of event would now be reported as newsworthy and on the front pages to boot? Back in the day, the famous-but-bonkers used to drive Rolls Royces into swimming pools, and that kind of caper only really ever surfaced in later titbit-infused biographies at the behest of royalty-famished publishers.

Nowadays, what gets posted or printed is as much to deflect our interest as it is to gain attention towards the yarns themselves.

The coronavirus odyssey is still doing the rounds though the illness is deemed to be so serious that we are being advised through formal guidance not to seek treatment. In fact, the missive about Catch it, kill it, bin it will look remarkably familiar. Yes, you’ll remember that advice from the NHS 2009 Swine Flu information campaign which itself was a reformulation of advice we’ve been given since the year dot.

You probably only remember the Swine Flu era as a time when a few people got bad colds (though none that you knew personally) and a rigmarole that with hindsight made Y2K a worthwhile exercise. Of course, we all forgot about the financial meltdown for a good while.

The Ronaldinho story and other minor snippets (for example a fire in a souvenir shop on Oxford St and an article on whether sign language should be mandatory in schools) are lamely stitched together as front-page BBC news in order to prevent COViD-19 fatigue. Because once we stop panicking about a flu virus, we’ll reprise our scrutiny on all the other issues that the Government is desperate for us to ignore.

Take my word for it, it’s not just the bad news that’s getting buried.

They must be McLovin it.

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