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Barcelona’s Relationship with Ronaldinho Called Into Question Over Politics

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The Brazilian star supports Jair Bolsonaro, who has been called a racist, homophobic far-right politician

UEFA Match For Solidarity Press Conference Photo by Robert Hradil/Getty Images

FC Barcelona is reevaluating its relationship with former star Ronaldinho as he has publicly supported Jair Bolsonaro, a leading candidate to become Brazil’s president who is accused of racism, homophobia, and sexism.

Ronaldinho had been given the title of global ambassador after leaving the Catalans, but his relationship with Bolsonaro is seen as troubling by the club,

“Our democratic values do not coincide with the words we have heard from this candidate,” Barcelona spokesperson Josep Vives said.

The Brazilian superstar has not been shy of his support for Bolsonaro. “For a better Brazil,” he said over social media, “I want peace, security, and someone that gives us happiness again. I chose to live in Brazil and I want a better Brazil for everyone.”

“In any case, we respect the freedom of expression, including Ronaldinho’s words,” Vives said.

Bolsonaro once said “she doesn’t deserve to be raped because she’s very ugly” about a rival politician. On another occasion, he said “I wouldn’t be able to love a gay son. I wouldn’t be a hypocrite, I’d prefer a son to die in an accident.” This is just a sample - his list of incendiary statements is quite long.

Another former FC Barcelona and Brazil star, Rivaldo, has also supported Bolsonaro. He could become part of the controversy.

“We have not made a decision over the matter,” Vives announced. “We will see soon.”