THE tone of the commotion over Ronaldinhoâ€™s surprise signing for the Mexican club QuerÃ©taro has moved from general enthusiasm to outrage in response to a Facebook post by a local politician calling the Brazilian legend an ape.
Carlos TreviÃ±oâ€™s outburst was sparked by the traffic jams caused by Ronaldinhoâ€™s presentation to fans at half-time in QuerÃ©taroâ€™s Friday night draw against Puebla.
â€œI try to be tolerant but I DETEST FOOTBALL and the dumbing down phenomenon it produces,â€ TreviÃ±o wrote. â€œI detest it all the more because people obstruct and flood the main avenues, causing me to spend two hours getting home â€¦ and all to see AN APE â€¦ A Brazilian, but an ape nonetheless. This has become a ridiculous circus.â€
The post was soon deleted, but was nevertheless picked up by local media and sparked a social media furore. The feed #TodosSomosSimios or WeAreAllApes gathered force over the weekend and remained a trending topic in Mexico on Monday.
Meanwhile the club, known as The White Roosters of QuerÃ©taro, issued a statement on Sunday demanding â€œexemplary punishmentâ€ for TreviÃ±o.
Soon after that, Mexicoâ€™s national commission against discrimination announced on Twitter that it has opened an investigation into the â€œracist expressionsâ€ against Ronaldinho.
TreviÃ±oâ€™s post also promoted his own right-wing National Action Party to announce it would launch an inquiry. The partyâ€™s regional chief, JosÃ© Baez, said he would be seeking the politicianâ€™s expulsion from the party.
Ronaldinho did not play during Fridayâ€™s match, though he walked on to the pitch during half-time to say a few words and kick a few balls into a packed stadium hung with huge banners bidding him â€œWelcomeâ€.
During a press conference earlier in the day in Mexico City, the 34-year-old said he had signed for QuerÃ©taro after leaving the Brazilian club AtlÃ©tico Mineiro in July, because â€œI havenâ€™t ever won anything in Mexicoâ€.
Ronaldinho said his decision was also influenced by his brother Robertoâ€™s period as a player for the Mexican team Tecos in 2000, though few Mexicans remember this. The former world player of the year added that the Mexican defender Rafael MÃ¡rquez, his friend and former team-mate at Barcelona, had always given him a good impression of the country as well.
In response to a question about his reputation for wild nights out, Ronaldinho said: â€œI hope to continue living in the same way I have always done, winning titles.â€ – The Guardian