Brazil Legend Ronaldo Retires
Tuesday, 15th February 2011 at 09:06am
Brazilian striking superstar Ronaldo has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34.
The three-time Fifa World Player of the Year had been expected to retire from the game at the end of the Brazilian season but the unexpected early elimination of Corinthians from the Copa Libertadores made the man known as 'Il Fenomeno' bring the decision forward.
"I wanted to continue, but I can't. I think of an action, but I can't do it the way I want to. It's time," he said.
In a cereer spanning 18 years, Ronaldo scored more goals than any other player in World Cup finals history with 15, won two Fifa World Cups with Brazil in 1994 and 2002, a runners-up medal in 1998 and played for Barcelona, Internazionale, AC Milan and Real Madrid.
Making his debut as a 17-year-old for Brazilian side Cruzeiro, Ronaldo scored 12 goals in 14 league games before moving to Europe and following in the footsteps of fellow Brazil star Romario by joining PSV Eindhoven.
In two seasons in Eindhoven, Il Fenomeno netted an impressive 42 league goals in 46 matches and his impressive scoring feats caught the attention of Barcelona who paid a then record US$17 million for the Brazilian's services.
Ronaldo would only remain in Catalonia for one season but it would prove to be his most prolific. In 49 games for Los Cules Ronaldo found the net an incredible 47 times propelling Barcelona to Cup Winners' Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana success.
Contractual disputes resulted in Ronaldo leaving for Inter Milan after just one season at the Camp Nou and he responded by netting 34 goals and helping Inter to a Uefa Cup win.
Widely considered the premier footballer on the planet in 1998, Ronaldo was the centre of attention at France '98 and lead Brazil a final meeting with the host nation.
The night before the match Ronaldo suffered a fit and although he was able to take to the field, he was a poor shadow of the player who had lit up pitches across Europe and the French ran out comfortable winners.
Back in Italy, after his first season at Inter, injuries began to take their toll on Ronaldo and he was limited to just 44 more appearances in four seasons, still managing to find the net 25 times.
In 2002, Ronaldo regained full fitness by the end of the season and was the star player as Brazil swept to their fifth World Cup title in Japan and South Korea, scoring eight goals including both in the final against Germany; enough to prompt Real Madrid to secure his services for 20 million.
The Brazilian star would score more than 100 goals in his Madrid career before returning to Milan this time signing for the rossonieri . Injuries and weight issues limited Il Fenomeno's impact at AC and he joined Corinthians in 2009 where he remained until announcing his retirement on February 14.
Ronaldo managed to make a final World Cup in 2006 where he eclipsed Gerd Muller's finals goal scoring record to stand alone on 15 goals as the tournament's greatest goal scorer.