MUNICH – Former Bayern Munich defender Breno has been jailed for almost four years after being found guilty of arson.
The Munich State Court sentenced the 22-year-old to a prison term of three years and nine months after finding him guilty of deliberately starting the fire which destroyed his home in the city last September.
The free agent, who was released by Bayern at the end of last season and was understood to have agreed terms with Italian Serie A club Lazio, was reported to be in a drunken state when the fire started in his home, shortly after his wife and children had left the building.
Germany's dpa agency quotes Breno telling the courtroom he was sorry for his actions just before the verdict was delivered.
"I would like to apologise for that night," he said. "I have not been a good role model.
"I am just a person who believes in God and thanks him for protecting my family."
Breno's solicitor Werner Leitner had requested a suspended sentence, or a maximum two-year jail term should his client be found guilty of deliberately starting the blaze while prosecutors suggested an imprisonment of five-and-a-half years.
Judge Rosi Datzmann divided the recommendations with her sentencing, saying the accused had "burdened himself with guilt with this action", and suggesting that Breno may be allowed to return to Brazil after two and a half years in a German prison.
Breno's former employers Bayern responded with a statement saying they "regret" the judgement.
"Our hope was that Breno would have been able to continue his career as a footballer and, consequently, his life together with his family,'' said the statement.
"FC Bayern will continue to support Breno."