Rivaldo warns tourists against Rio Olympics

Brazil's midfielder Rivaldo (L) hugs forward Ronaldo after Brazil won 2-0 against Germany in match 64 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea Japan final 30 June, 2002 at the International Stadium Yokohama, Japan. Photo: ANTONIO SCORZA / AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian World Cup winner Rivaldo has warned tourists to keep away from Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics in three months, saying the city is too dangerous.

"Stay in your country. Here, your life is in danger," the 44-year-old star of the 2002 World Cup team said on his Instagram account on Monday.

He referred to the shooting death of a 17-year-old girl over the weekend in Rio, saying "things are increasingly ugly in Brazil".

Rivaldo said that in addition to high crime, the country suffered from poor public hospitals and "the political mess" of the impeachment process against President Dilma Rousseff.

"Only God can change the situation in our Brazil," he wrote.

The warning was likely to anger organisers of the first Olympics to be staged in South America.

Officials say that about 85,000 police and soldiers will be on the streets, double the number of personnel deployed for the 2012 London Olympics.

Rio de Janeiro suffers from rampant crime, with favela neighbourhoods subjected to frequent shoot-outs between drug traffickers and heavily armed police.

AFP

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