Former Barcelona superstar Ronaldinho has reportedly lost his mother after testing positive for COVID-19 at the end of 2020.
Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos, aged 71, was hospitalised after testing positive for the virus in December, in their home city of Porto Alegre.
However, as per media rumours from outlets in Brazil and Peru, she has sadly passed away in the last few hours, according to reports from Peruvian national TV station America.
Ronaldinho returned to Brazil in 2011, after three years at AC Milan, before spells at four different clubs back in South America.
The 40-year old made 207 appearances in all competitions for La Blaugrana, following his 2003 move from Paris Saint-Germain, after playing a starring role in Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win, and he won two La Liga titles and one Champions League in Catalonia.
Ronaldinho has experienced a headline grabbing last 12 months, after spending time in Paraguayan prison on charges of with entering the country on a fake passport, before publicly declaring his controversial support for Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has sent Ronaldinho a touching message via Instagram to mourn his mother.
“Just sending you a lot of strength and a big hug to you and the family. I’m very sorry, RIP.”
Ronaldinho played an important role in Messi’s early years as a professional footballer.
He welcomed Messi into the fold with open arms and even told the media that the Argentine was a better footballer than he was back in 2005-06.
Messi was only a teenager at the time but Ronaldinho was acutely aware that his fellow South American was on course for greatness.
They’ve remained close ever since, despite the fact Ronaldinho left Barça in 2008, and Messi has clearly been left deeply saddened by this horrible news.
Ronaldinho previously disclosed that his mother had been hospitalised prior to Christmas.
“Dear friends, my mother has covid-19 and we are fighting so that she recovers soon,” the legendary Brazilian said. “She is in intensive care, receiving the best possible treatment. I would like to thank everyone in advance for all of the positive energy you always send. With love. Stay strong Mum.”
Atletico Mineiro, the Brazilian club that Ronaldinho played for between 2012-2014, expressed their condolences following the news of Miguelina’s passing.
“[The] club is mourning the death of Dona Miguelina,” a statement reads.
“It is with great sadness that Clube Atlético Mineiro receives the news of the death of Dona Miguelina, mother of @10Ronaldinho.
“The Atleticana Family is in mourning and shares the moment of pain with their idol.
“May God welcome you with open arms and comfort the heart of our eternal ace. Rest in peace, Dona Miguelina.”