Brazilian footballer Bruno Fernandes de Souza has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for ordering the murder of his former girlfriend in an attempt to avoid paying child support.

On Wednesday, Fernandes broke down as he admitted to planning the murder of Eliza Samudio, who was reportedly chopped up and fed to his rottweilers after her murder in June 2010.

The Flamengo goalkeeper, 28, was tipped to play for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup and linked with a transfer to AC Milan before being accused of the murder in September last year.

Until this week, Fernandes, who is married, had denied connection or knowledge of the 25-year-old's death, and maintained that she had fled the country.

However, on Wednesday he told the court that his best friend Luiz Henrique Romao had paid a hitman to kill Samudio after she gave birth to his love child.

It has since transpired that the hired killer was a former policeman, Marcos Santos.

Fernandes said that, though he himself did not order Samudio's murder, he did 'accept' it when Romao informed him of the payment to Santos.

The court also heard that Fernandes's wife Dayane was deeply involved in the plot, along with another former lover and one of his cousins, Jorge Rosa.

Strangled with a neck tie

During his trial, Fernandes told the court that Romao and Rosa kidnapped Samudio from a hotel and drove her to a property in Belo Horizonte, where she was held captive for six days.

Fernandes allegedly watched as Santos tortured his former lover before strangling her with a neck tie. He even helped the hitman chop up her body.

While some parts of the victim's body were allegedly fed to the footballer's rottweillers, the rest were buried in concrete.

Romao has already been found guilty of Samudio's murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Santos will be put on trial next month.

Samudio, a model who once claimed to have had an affair with Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo, met Fernandes in May 2009 and fell pregnant by accident shortly afterwards.

Despite the goalkeeper's demand to abort the child, Samudio went ahead and gave birth to their child in June 2010, and insisted Fernandes pay child support.

Samudio's four-month-old baby was later found in a Belo Horizonte slum and is now taken care of by the victim's mother.