Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo to retire
“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 had already spoken in terms of retiring at the end of the year.
But a succession of injuries and the elimination of his club, Corinthians, from the Copa Libertadores, South America’s most prestigious club tournament, appears to have pushed the date forward.
The Copa trophy, the equivalent of Europe’s Champions League trophy, was the only one Ronaldo had not won in what has been a 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, after all, shrugged 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 not yet been bettered.
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.