“This is impossible, sticking the boy in prison,” fumed Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeneß on Saturday evening after his club beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-0.
The 21-year-old Brazilian, Vinicius Rodrigues Borges, universally known as Breno, was treated for smoke inhalation after his villa on the outskirts of Munich, caught on fire in the middle of last week.
He was then arrested over the weekend and held in custody, apparently because there was a risk of his fleeing the country or tampering with evidence.
Hoeneß said the latter reasoning was ‘laughable', while Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said Breno had lost his passport in the fire anyhow, and so would not be able to leave Germany.
“One often talks of a celebrity bonus, but I want to make sure there is no celebrity disadvantage,” said Rummenigge. “I ask the public prosecutor to take on the Breno case with the required fairness and sensitivity.”
He said the club would be assuming Breno's innocence until any case against him came to a conclusion.
Hoeneß said, “I find it unbelievable that the boy, who already has enough trouble on his shoulders in total, that he should also be held in custody. That is inhumane. And if the state prosecutor believes that this is correct in our country, then good night Germany.”
Yet Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, spokesman for the Munich prosecutor said that initial investigations had turned up indications that the fire was not accidental.
Speculation is circulating that Breno is struggling in his personal life, particularly with a recurring knee injury which has prevented him from playing a single game this season. This had apparently flared up again the day before the fire.
Bayern Munich reportedly referred him to the Max Planck Psychiatric Institute for help.
The club has pledged to help him further, potentially with a bail payment to get him out of custody.
“If there is the possibility to free him on bail, we will certainly do everything,” said Hoeneß.