Brazilian striker Ronaldo, the all-time leading scorer at World Cup tournaments and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, confirmed his retirement on Monday at the age of 34.
The tearful Corinthians forward announced his decision at an emotional press conference in Sao Paulo, during which he also revealed that he suffered from a thyroid problem.
“I’m stopping my career as a professional footballer,” he said, his voice breaking. “It’s been a beautiful, emotional, marvellous career."These last two years, I’ve had a long series of injuries, from one side to the other. The pain pushed me to think about the end of my career."
Having earlier indicated that he hoped to play on until the end of the year, injuries and Corinthians’ early elimination from the Copa Libertadores prompted him to bring forward his retirement.
During a prolific 14-year spell in Europe, Ronaldo scored goals at a prolific rate for European clubs PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan, before returning to Brazil in 2008 to play with Corinthians.