Ex-Brazilian footballer decapitated then has head sent to his wife

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A former Brazilian footballer was killed and his decapitated head delivered to his wife in a genuine gruesome murder that took place in Rio de Janeiro this week.

Homicide officers visit the site where João Rodrigo's severed head found
Homicide officers visit the site where João Rodrigo's severed head found

Photo: TV Globo

João Rodrigo, 35, played as a striker for several teams in Brazil, as well as stints in Honduras and Sweden, up until his retirement two years ago.

Since quitting football, he had started his own business selling health foods and various dietary aids in the district of Realengo in Rio de Janeiro.

On Monday night, Rodrigo was attacked as he left his shop with witnesses confirming seeing several men bundling him into a car.

The next morning, his wife, a police officer with Rio's Pacification Units, was woken up by a noise outside her house and found a backpack of her husband's on the step.

Inside the backpack was Rodrigo's head - with the eyes and tongue had been cut out.

"He was a good family man. He lived for football and played until recently. He had no enemies," Bruno Santos, a friend of the victim, told Globo.

The motive for the violent killing is not yet clear, but investigators believe it may have something to do with the fact that his wife works in a police unit tasked to clean up the drug trade in the city.

This isn't the first football-related decapitation Brazil has suffered this year. In July, a 20-year-old referee was quartered and beheaded by a baying crowd at an amateur match after he stabbed a player.

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