TWO-TIME World Cup winner Cafu’s £6.5million family mansion in Sao Paulo has been auctioned off for just £4m to help settle his massive debts.
The Brazil legend, 53, is set to be given just 45 days to vacate the lavish property in the affluent area of Alphaville once a judge confirms the sale.
Former Roma and AC Milan right-back Cafu, the only player in history to have appeared in three World Cup finals, had tried to stop the auction by claiming the six-bed mansion was his main residence and as a family asset could not be taken from him under Brazilian law.
His defence lawyers claimed the payment of debts he has racked up since retiring from football were guaranteed through other properties he owned.
But their arguments were rejected and the auction of the property, which boasts a lift, cinema room and football pitch, went ahead.
The mansion has been bought by a company that will hand over the cash through an initial deposit followed by 15 monthly payments, according to local reports.
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The property was due to be auctioned off in September, but it was suspended following a dispute over its valuation.
The successful bid, lodged two days ago, turned out to be just under the £4.35m offered by another bidder in a pre-sale before the suspension of the first planned auction three months ago.
Cafu, whose son Danilo died in September 2019 after suffering a heart attack during a football match aged just 30, reportedly had five properties seized earlier the same year over financial debts he was said at the time to have incurred after lending from his business Capi Penta International Player.
The business was set up in 2004 by the former footballer and his wife Regina to administrate the careers of various footballers and athletes.
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Cafu said at the time: “It's my personal problem. I can give my properties, my car, my house, I can pay my debts how I want.”
Reports in 2019 said he had another 15 properties in his and his wife’s name with six-figure mortgages on them.
Earlier this year the 53-year-old, full name Marcos Evangelista de Morais, insisted: “A lot of people are saying I’m broke. We all have problems but I’m not broke.
“I have this debt problem but it will be solved. With my sweat, work and dedication we will solve this.”
Claiming his financial problems started after he tried to help a Sao Paulo-based businessman he didn’t name on Brazilian TV programme Domingo Spectacular, he added: “I lent him my image, I lent him some things, and it ended up generating this debt for trusting this person. And the debt snowballed.
“The creditors came to me to collect this debt because I simply tried to help a friend.”
Cafu, the most-capped player for the Brazil national team with 142 appearances, is not the only soccer legend from the South American country whose finances have been under the spotlight in recent years.
Last month it was reported ex-teammate Ronaldinho, also part of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning squad, was facing the seizure of two properties in his homeland to pay off tax debts.
Tax chiefs were said to have ordered a valuation of his real estate assets in Rio de Janeiro and his home state of Rio Grande do Sul so they could be used to recoup the money owed by the former footballer if necessary.
Frustrated tax inspectors set their sights on Ronaldinho’s property after failing to find any money in the footballer’s bank accounts, according to Brazilian media reports.
In November 2018 the 43-year-old had luxury cars and artwork seized by Brazilian officials after he and his brother Roberto de Assis Moreira were chased by officials over claims he owed money for fines levied against his charity.
The previous month Ronaldinho had his passport confiscated after state prosecutors attempting to recover money in a separate case linked to illegal construction in a protected area, discovered just £5 in his bank account.
He ended up spending a month in prison in Paraguay and four more months under house arrest at a hotel in its capital Asuncion after flying into the country on a fake passport in March 2020.
Ronaldinho and his brother had entered Paraguay to launch an online casino and a book with doctored passports falsely showing they were naturalised Paraguayan citizens. The passports had been issued to two women before being modified.
The former footballer spent his 40th birthday in prison before he and his elder sibling were allowed to move to the four-star Palmaroga Hotel in the Paraguayan capital as part of a house arrest deal.
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Roberto was freed with a criminal record after pleading guilty to using a false document and being given a suspended prison sentence.
He and Ronaldinho were ordered to pay around £153,000 in compensation before being allowed to fly back to Brazil, with the former soccer star having to pay £68,000 of the total and his brother the rest.
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