Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho touched down on Kenya soil Friday last afternoon for a three-day tour to popularize and market betting firm Betika.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup winner is among players considered the greatest of all time in football and is scheduled to feature for Kenyan legends in an exhibition match with Sofapaka.
Ronaldinho arrived aboard an Emirates airline shortly after 3 pm and was warmly received by Betika officials in the country as well as a local brand ambassador and journalist Carol Radul.
Another man said to be his brother, both donning Betika branded jerseys, flanked him.
Two Maasai dancers paid to welcome the football wizard who retired from professional sport entertained Ronaldinho for two minutes at the airport before he was whisked away by mean looking hired operatives.
A protocol mix-up at the airport left waiting journalists dissatisfied after security re-routed Ronaldinho elsewhere with anxious scribes, with their equipment set at a previously advised zone, scrambled for pictures.
Ronaldinho was taken into a waiting car before the PR team of Gina Din intervened. The former Paris St Germain (PSG) and Barcelona great was then hauled from the vehicle to pose for pictures with Betika influencers and for the media to get footage.
About two minutes later he was whisked back to the vehicle to a scheduled press conference. His arrival at Terminal 1E, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport caught the public by surprise and attracted a crowd of onlookers comprising passengers, taxi drivers, police officers with loud whispers of the Brazilian’s past wizardry with the ball on his foot.
A fleet of big cars carrying the sports star, Betika crew of officials, brand ambassadors and media team then left the airport in a huff.
His arrival in Kenya was preceded by controversy after Spanish media reported that a judge in Brazil had ordered for the confiscation of Ronaldinho’s passport. The judge considered Ronaldinho a flight risk and wanted him in the country until a dispute amounting to Sh240 million is settled.
Controversy has surely followed him to Kenya where Football Federation Kenya (FKF) is up in arms against the organisers of the exhibition matches that Ronaldinho is scheduled to grace.
FKF wrote a letter warning referees and players not to engage in the games that are not sanctioned by the federation.