Brazilian legend Ronaldo retires at 34

 @ibtimes
on February 14 2011 5:05 AM
Ronaldo of Brazil's Corinthians reacts during their Copa Libertadores soccer match against Colombia's Deportes Tolima in Sao Paulo.
Ronaldo of Brazil's Corinthians reacts during their Copa Libertadores soccer match against Colombia's Deportes Tolima in Sao Paulo. Reuters

A tearful Ronaldo announced his retirement from football at the age of 34, calling time on arguably one of the greatest career's in football history. 

The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan forward had announced his decision on Sunday and had said he would explain his decision formally at a press conference on Monday.

He said, As you can imagine and you heard during the whole weekend, I'm here today to (confirm that) I'm closing my career as a professional player.

Ronaldo, who had visited the Corinthians training ground earlier on the day to meet his team-mates, added, I thanked all the players, the coach Tite, for all the minutes, for every second I was with them. It was a very beautiful career, wonderful and exciting.

(There were) a lot of defeats and a lot of victories. I made a lot of friends, and I can't recall any enemies. I'm ending my career due to some very important reasons. 

It is believed that Ronaldo felt his body could no longer meet the requirements of a modern day footballer.

The striker was expected to carry on till later this year, but the Corinthians shock early departure from the Copa Libertadores saw the supporters partially blame him.

The supporters damaged the players' cars and threw rocks at the team bus and Ronaldo at the time that had said that the violence had made him consider calling time on his career.

His announcement comes just a few days after his former International teammate, Roberto Carlos, said he was moving from Corinthians due to threats on him and his family after the Copa Libertadores elimination.

Local Brazillian media reported Ronaldo as saying that he cried like a baby after the defeat to Deportes Tolima in the tournament and was quoted as saying that, I wanted to continue but I can't. I think about making a play but I can't execute it as I wish. The time is up.

Ronaldo, three-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002, has played for Europe's elite clubs in an illuminating career, including Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid and AC Milan. He is also the record holder for most goals in the World Cup with 15 goals.

Ronaldo's career will be most remembered for two extremes - his mysterious condition before the final of the World Cup against France in 1998 which his team lost, and his commanding performance in the subsequent World Cup final in which he scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Germany. 

Undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all times, his retirement is a sad day for football. One wonders how much greater he would have become had he not suffered those string of injuries. 

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