Ronaldinho plays soccer exhibition with Chechnya leader
GROZNY, Russia (AP) — Brazil great Ronaldinho has played a game in Chechnya alongside the Russian region’s authoritarian ruler Ramzan Kadyrov.
Ronaldinho, a two-time world player of the year, scored for Kadyrov’s team as it won an exhibition 6-3 against a lineup of Italian former players, including World Cup winners on Saturday.
Kadyrov himself took to the field and scored for his team, which was largely made up of Russian ex-pros with a smattering of government officials.
The Chechen leader is fond of sports, particularly soccer and martial arts, and has often brought foreign sports stars and other celebrities to Chechnya as a sign of prestige for the formerly war-torn region.
International rights groups have accused Ramzan Kadyrov’s feared security forces of extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture and other human rights abuses.