SAO PAULO – Brazilian football legend Ronaldo, who helped his country to two World Cup trophies and is still the tournament’s top scorer, retired yesterday, Brazilian media reported.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldo (known as ‘El Fenomeno’ during his prime), had held out hopes of one last World Cup in South Africa last year.
“I can’t take any more,” the 34-year-old star told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.“I wanted to continue, but I can’t do it any more. I think of an action, but I can’t do it the way I want to. It’s time.”“It’s the body that’s hurting me,” he told Globo television. “The head wants to go on, but the body can’t take any more.
”Ronaldo has previously spoken about retiring at the end of the year. A number of injuries as well as the elimination of his club, Corinthians, from the Copa Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious club tournament, appears to have moved the date forward.
The Copa trophy, the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League trophy, is the only one that Ronaldo has not won in his spectacular career.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, the player known as ‘El Fenomeno’ during his prime had held out hopes of one last World Cup in South Africa last year.
He had fought off injury in the 2002 tournament to help Brazil to the trophy, ending the tournament as top scorer on 15 goals, a total that has no one has reached since.
Ronaldo scored 62 goals in 97 internationals with Brazil, but was never called up again to the national team after a disappointing performance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
In the end though, he had to accept that his injuries and lack of match fitness had ruled him out.
Ronaldo had already fought back to fitness from three career-threatening injuries.
Along the way he picked up a string of honours, including the Fifa Player of the Year three times: in 1996, 1997 and 2002.
He play with some of Europe’s top clubs, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
But he was sidelined while playing for Inter by a knee injury in 1999 only to damage the same knee in his comeback for the club in February 2000, basically keeping him out of action until March 2002.
Ronaldo was a fan favorite in his time with Real Madrid. But his inability to control his weight as well as injuries led to his departure in 2007 for AC Milan. he ruptured a tendon in his knee in February of 2008 and that ended his carreer in Italy.
He returned to Brazil in 2009 signing with Corinthians in 2010 after working hard to regain his form.
Here are some of Ronaldo’s most memorable goals: