ISTANBUL

Brazilian football legend Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, also known as Ronaldinho, released a video message Thursday in support of Azerbaijan amid a conflict with Armenia.

“I would like to send a hug to all people from Azerbaijan. May everyone return in peace to their homes,” Ronaldinho said in the message. “It’s a country where I was very well received, and I wish to come back soon.”

Ronaldinho was part of the Brazilian team that took home the 2002 World Cup and he won the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona in 2006.

He scored 33 goals in 97 matches for Brazil between 1999 and 2013.

The Brazilian legend was also awarded the Ballon D’or in 2005. He retired in 2018.

Ronaldinho tested positive for the novel coronavirus Sunday and said he would remain in self-isolation in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted between the former Soviet republics Sept. 27, and since then Armenia has repeatedly attacked Azerbaijani civilians and forces, even violating three humanitarian cease-fires since Oct. 10.

Multiple UN resolutions demand immediate, complete, and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces from the occupied territory.

About 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has been under Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.

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