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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Ex-player's head sent to police wife

A former Brazilian footballer was killed and his decapitated head delivered to his widow by suspected drug traffickers in Rio de Janeiro on Monday night.

Brazilian police have been clamping down across Brazil.
Brazilian police have been clamping down across Brazil.

Joao Rodrigo Silva Santo, 35, who played for Bangu, Olimpia, Nacional and Swedish club Oster during his career, was kidnapped after leaving the local food store he owned in the district of Realengo.

The next morning, his wife, an officer with Rio's Police Pacification Units (UPPS), found his backpack containing his severed head outside their house, with G1 Globo website reporting his eyes and tongue had been cut out.

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

The UPPS has been cracking down on Rio’s drug gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Earlier this month, over 1,000 police stormed some of Rio’s poorest favelas in a bid to regain control back from the gangs.

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