Count me out! Messi denies he will help Ronaldinho get out of jail

first_imgLionel Messi has disassociated himself from the Ronaldinho’s fake passport saga as he denied he will fork out £3.25million to help the former football icon get out of prison.  Ronaldinho in Paraguay  According to The Sun of Uj, the Brazilian World Cup winner, 39, was arrested just over a week ago after allegedly entering Paraguay with a fake passport. Ronaldinho has been warned that he could face up to six months in jail for using the alleged dodgy documents. And there were claims Messi plans to help his old Barcelona team-mate by hiring four top lawyers to take on his case. It was reported that it would cost the Argentine ace up to £3.25million in legal fees. However, according to Catalan publication Sport, Messi’s advisors have insisted that, while the Argentine superstar sympathises with Ronaldinho’s situation, he will NOT be helping financially. Brazil legend Ronaldinho has lost a new appeal against his remand in prison. The former Barcelona and AC Millan star was told late on Friday his fresh bid to be allowed out of jail and placed under house arrest had been rejected. Paraguay’s Appeal Court said the former footballer posed a “medium to high” flight risk if his prison situation was modified. His brother Roberto, who is being held in the same cell in a jail on the outskirts of the Paraguayan capital Asuncion, also had his appeal rejected. The decision makes it more likely the pair will have to sit out the next six months behind bars. Ronaldinho’s lawyers were offering a property bond as their get-out-of-jail card. More than a dozen other people have now been placed under formal investigation over the passport scandal Ronaldinho and his brother have been caught up in. The list includes the Brazilian businessman alleged to have handed them their passports and two women believed to be the rightful owners of the travel documents. Police were first called to Ronaldinho’s luxury hotel two days before his March 6 arrest after a tip-off he had entered the country hours earlier to attend a charity launch and present his new book with a Paraguayan passport which stated he was a naturalised citizen. Prosecutors have said the passport was requested by a woman before its contents were doctored to include Ronaldinho’s photo and full name – Ronaldo de Assis Moreira. His brother had a similar passport. Loading… Promoted Content8 Ways Drones Are Going To Change Our LivesThese Hilariously Creative Shower Curtains Will Make Your DayWho’s The Best Car Manufacturer Of All Time?Birds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For Them11 Most Immersive Game To Play On Your Table Top10 Phones That Can Easily Fit In The Smallest Pocket14 Hilarious Comics Made By Women You Need To Follow Right Now12 Celebrities Who Almost Ruined Their Careers With One Movie6 Ridiculous Health Myths That Are Actually TrueWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?center_img The former footballer was initially offered the chance of an escape from trial and a fine before a U-turn by prosecutors led to him being arrested in dramatic fashion last Friday at the Sheraton Hotel and hauled to court in handcuffs the following day. An expert in financial crimes has now been drafted into the remodelled prosecution team leading the investigation after its scope was widened to look at possible money laundering. Ronaldinho and his brother are claiming they were tricked. His Paraguayan lawyer Adolfo Marin has said the former footballer had been given his Paraguayan passport as a “gift”. He allegedly assumed it was an “honorary-type” document of no real value, and gave it to an official without thinking when he reached Paraguay because it was the “first thing he got out of his bag.” Last weekend the lawyer branded Ronaldinho “stupid”, saying he hadn’t understand he had been given false documents to enter Paraguay. Ronaldinho’s life has been under the microscope for all the wrong reasons since he won two Fifa World Player of the Year Awards as well as a Ballon d’Or at the peak of his playing career. He officially retired from football in 2018 – which is the same year he was forced to deny bigamy claims. He had his Brazilian passport confiscated after he was convicted alongside his brother of building an illegal fishing platform on a lake in a conservation area. But Paraguayan prosecutors confirmed last week they had discovered it had been returned to him and he used it to leave Brazil on a flight from Sao Paulo. The revelation has left a huge question mark over why Ronaldinho did not use the same passport when he entered Paraguay, with his lawyer’s comments about it being the “first thing” he laid his hands on being greeted with a mixture of derision and disbelief. Last year it was reported the ex-Paris Saint-Germain only had £5 in his bank account. Police raided Ronaldinho’s family home to seize assets in a bid to guarantee he paid fines due over the illegal fishing platform. Officers were said last November to have seized three luxury cars and a piece of art from painter Andre Berardo. Ronaldinho’s brother was sentenced to five years in jail in 2012 in Brazil for money laundering and other financial crimes. Read Also:Ronaldinho to be rewarded with 16kg pig in prison football tourney Reports at the time said Roberto de Assis had been accused of lying to Brazilian tax authorities to justify the entry into his homeland of money held in secret accounts in Switzerland. Ronaldinho has kept himself busy behind bars by playing in the prison futsal tournament – and he scored five goals. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 last_img read more

Paul George just the latest homegrown star to feel Lakers’ love in free agency

first_imgLOS ANGELES — Before signing a contract that at the time was the second-biggest in NBA history, DeMar Derozan heard the siren call of the Southland.It was 2016, the Lakers had salary-cap room, and a significant number of friends in Los Angeles were campaigning for the Compton native to come home.“It’s flattering because if you grew up here, you’re a Laker fan,” DeRozan said. “So, for me, I just knew what my mind was at and my heart was at. As long as you know that, it really don’t get to you as much. It don’t make the decision that hard.”Though no Lakers will play in Sunday’s prime-time game, the All-Star rosters feature five players who grew up in the L.A. area and a sixth, Kevin Love, who starred at UCLA. “Oh, there’s definitely some truth to it,” said Warriors star Klay Thompson, who went to high school at Santa Margarita and whose parents still live in Orange County, “especially growing up down here, and having his family down here. There’s got to  be … some truth to it.”Thompson, it must be noted, is bound for free agency in 2019.“I expect those questions for the next two years,” Thompson said. “That’s a long ways away.”After clearing cap space by trading Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson prior to last week’s deadline, the Lakers will have upward of $70 million in cap space that they will dangle in an effort to sign two max-level players.For obvious reasons that have nothing to do with his hometown, LeBron James will be one. George is the other.During his appearance at Saturday’s media day in a cavernous corner of the L.A. Convention Center, a chant broke out among the fans on hand as George answered a question about sneakers.“We want Paul! We want Paul!”The Palmdale native was greeted by boisterous pleas for him to sign with the Lakers in each of his two visits to Staples Center this season, and one season ticket holder went so far as to customize a No. 13 jersey bearing George’s name.Sitting several seats down from George, Russell Westbrook held court at his own dais Saturday. Westbrook, who attended Leuzinger High in Lawndale, was long expected to entertain signing in L.A. before signing a $205 million extension last summer that will keep him in OKC through 2023.Hearing the chant, Westbrook cut himself off mid-answer and said, “That’s out. Paul ain’t going nowhere, it’s over for that.”Reading the tea leaves has never been easier. He wants to be a Laker.But then Westbrook called George’s All-Star snub “outrageous” and George, who was later selected as an injury replacement, said that kind of support from last year’s league MVP made it “more apparent what this decision needs to be made when it comes down to it.”Oh boy. The Lakers’ bid for George seemed over before it (legally) began.“I think that’s just the media,” George said, “they see a headline and immediately they jump to conclusions. It’s funny but at the end of the day I know where my decision lands, or what my decision is, and that’s all that matters.”Asked Saturday if he already knew what he would do this summer, George responded, “I don’t.”If he had left it there, the comments would have been innocuous enough.“I know what I feel is best,” he said, “but it’s a long ways until the end of the season.”Maybe, then, he does know.“It has a ton of layers to it,” said Love, who before being traded to Cleveland in 2014 was expected to be the Lakers’ top target when he hit free agency in 2015. “Having that aura around it of being the Lakers and having that tradition of excellence here as a franchise. … It’s one of those places that if you can make a name for yourself you can make a name for yourself anywhere.”That echoes comments Kobe Bryant made this week to ESPN’s Jalen Rose.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersEach of them have, at one time or another, been linked to the Lakers, either by hopeful fans, meddling agents or from the mouths of players themselves. The rumor mill has never run hotter than it does for Oklahoma City’s Paul George, the Palmdale native for whom the Lakers sacrificed $500,000 to make their affection known,George’s pending decision remains a point of intrigue around the NBA and especially this weekend as the NBA makes L.A. its temporary home.What DeRozan experienced two summers ago and George is encountering now are both part of a greater phenomenon.The Lakers have made it clear they will try to find their franchise savior in free agency; owner Jeanie Buss said last spring that not having an All-Star with the game in L.A. would “break my heart.”When a star player with L.A. roots hits the market, the Lakers will generally be first in line to sign him. And though it hasn’t happened over the past four offseasons, when the franchise has needed a savior more than ever, the outside expectation is that those players all want to sign with the Lakers. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Heisler: NBA All-Star Game is too broken to fix, too big to drop “It takes a special person to want to play for this franchise and take the pressure that comes along with playing for this franchise,” Bryant said.The Lakers’ message each time they swing for the fences in free agency is less that the object of their affection is the perfect player for the organization, and more that his contract has come up at a point that is compatible with the organization’s timeline.The franchise will always bank on L.A. itself being the best recruiting pitch. Players love Los Angeles and, the logic follows, they should love playing here.“That’s going to remain to be said with all the top free agents as long as the NBA’s around,” Love said, “(and) as long as L.A.’s a great city. Which it always will be.” 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend courtside: Celebrity All-Star Game and Rising Stars Challenge updates last_img read more

Mourning Glory: Alonzo Heading to the FIBA Hall of Fame

first_imgIf you ask people who the All-time leading scorer is for USA Basketball in the FIBA Basketball World Cup (believe me, I’ve tested this), people never seem to guess the correct answer. Ahead of him being ushered into the FIBA Hall of Fame before this year’s tournament in China, it feels like an opportune time to look back at the legacy of Alonzo Mourning for his country. He’s known as the scowling, high-fade-rocking, Jeff-Van-Gundy-nemesis, bulging-bicep-flexing, interior-enforcer of the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat of the 90s, but what about international play? But it wasn’t only the stature and physicality of this roster that stood out from their competition. While the original Dream Team had (with the notable exception of Charles Barkley), felt like experienced foreign ambassadors, Dream Team 2, quite simply, did not. This was a team that was going to openly talk trash but also back it up. The emphatic dunks during blowout wins, the snarling rebounds and the chest-bumping celebrations had become commonplace in the NBA, yet to some looking on felt out of place in an international context. Still displaying the confidence and swagger that oozed from this team, when speaking to FIBA Media for an upcoming FIBA Basketball World Cup documentary, Mourning said “We knew we were going to win gold. Something catastrophic would have had to have happened for us to not win… We came out and we just blew everybody out by 30…. We had to show the world who was the best. And we made a statement.” But Mourning also discussed how valuable the experience was competing in practice and experiencing the comradery that came with being teammates with such elite players. He said “During the season we were adversaries. To have them as teammates? Those were moments that I treasured. I think that’s what helped evolve my game even more. It gave me the confidence I needed. I was very thankful to be a part of that.” Having played in both the 1990 and 1994 tournaments, Alonzo Mourning not only holds the all time  (USA) scoring record (215 points), but he’s also the (USA) all-time leading rebounder (102) and shot blocker (46) too.1990Mourning’s first World Cup experience was as part of the roster assembled in 1990 from outstanding college players. Along with Kenny Anderson and Billy Owens, Mourning was one of the outstanding players in the team. The team went 3-0 in the group stage, defeating Greece (in OT), South Korea and Spain. In the knockout stages however, the USA came up against the eventual winner, Yugoslavia. This was no ordinary team either. This was a generation of Yugoslav players that included Drazen Petrovic, (tournament MVP) Toni Kukoc and Vlade Divac among an incredibly talented roster. The experience, talent and chemistry of this team that had played together for years was too much for the young USA team. The USA went on to defeat Puerto Rico to secure third place in the tournament. Notably, despite Mourning being the outstanding frontcourt player on this team both offensively and defensively, it was actually his teammate from 1990, Christian Laettner, who would receive the call to play in 1992. 1994: Dream Team 2After Mourning continued to excel in both the college and professional ranks, it was no surprise that he was called up again to the USA team in 1994. However, considering Mourning’s all-time achievements that I listed in my intro are cumulative numbers, it may be surprising that in the 1994 tournament Mourning averaged less than 15 minutes per game. To somewhat explain his playing time however, this was no ordinary team. This was Dream Team 2. This was the first time the FIBA Basketball World Cup was open to US NBA players and as a quirk of the timing of his coming of age as a player and the rule changes, Mourning is the only US player to have competed in a FIBA Basketball World Cup both as a college player and after the rules changed to allow NBA participation. This 1994 team followed closely in the footsteps of Magic, Bird and MJ from the 1992 Olympics, and looked to replicate their dominance. In truth, in Barcelona the likes of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had been at or close to the end of their careers (Bird didn’t play again, while Magic didn’t play again until he suited up for 32 games of the 95-96 season after he’d stepped away following his HIV diagnosis). In 1994 Michael Jordan was also absent, occupying the baseball diamond instead of the hardwood. The path was left open for a new generation of players to showcase themselves on the world stage and to leave their own impression on international fans. Mourning shared the frontcourt minutes with Shaquille O’Neal, Shawn Kemp, Derrick Coleman and (Mourning’s then NBA teammate) Larry Johnson. This is (I would argue) the most physically imposing frontcourt ever to have played in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. The likes of Mark Price, Dominique Wilkins and Joe Dumars provided veteran leadership, while Steve Smith, Reggie Miller, Dan Majerle and Kevin Johnson made up the backcourt.  This was reflected perfectly when Mourning participated in the 2000 Olympics. En route to the gold medal, he blocked 6 shots against Italy, leading the tournament in terms of single game blocks. Only China’s (seven feet, six inch) Yao Ming blocked more shots than Mourning in that tournament, and (again) this was with Mourning averaging less than 23 minutes per game. As Mourning enters the FIBA Hall of Fame on August 30, many will remember the dunks, the blocks and the bravado. But you should also remember the winning, the patriotism and the cultural significance of Mourning and his peers. Between the NBA Jam-worthy highlights, the unapologetic swagger and the soundtrack that followed the team, this was not only a display of basketball dominance. It was a global showcase of a hip-hop cultural movement and aesthetic that by the mid 90s was gathering steam and shifting from sub-cultural trend to mainstream pop culture. To many fans of the game, this hip hop cultural zeitgeist would become (and in many ways had already become) inextricably entwined within the very fabric of the sport for probably the next decade and onwards. And there’s no doubt that Alonzo Mourning and his teammates played a huge role in exporting this phenomenon. Indeed, with players mirroring the fashions, styles and demeanour of hip hop culture, basketball players became increasingly name dropped in the music. This was (and still is) a self-fueling and self-referential cultural loop. Discussing how influential this team was on the sport, Mourning said “We were global icons. That immediately planted seeds in these young players. And they say ‘You know what? I’m going to represent my country and we’re going to beat the US.’… We sparked something globally, which is why now basketball has grown tremendously internationally.” Mourning’s GameDespite his polished offensive game from the low post and his ability to just physically overpower opponents on the boards, for me, the most elite skill in Alonzo Mourning’s game was his shot blocking. The combination of his size and length was obviously a big factor. While he stood a reasonably average (by positional standards at the time) 6ft 9.5inches tall, he had an incredible 7 feet, 6.5 inch wingspan. The physical gifts he possessed in terms of leaping ability and strength, an uncanny timing and a seemingly-endless determination to throw himself in front of any player driving to the hoop resulted in one of the all-time greatest shot blockers. last_img read more