Ronaldo to retire next year
Double FIFA World Cup™ winner Ronaldo, who is now playing for Sao Paulo's Corinthians, said Monday he would retire from professional football at the end of next year.
The three-times FIFA World Footballer of the Year aged 33 told a media conference he would continue to represent Corinthians afterwards, but only as an "ambassador."
"I've renewed for another two years and they will be the last of my career. I want to give my all. I hope to have fun and end with some big wins," he said, according to the G1 news website.
The 1994 and 2002 FIFA World Cup winner did not hide his aspirations of being called up to play for Brazil in South Africa in this year's world finals. "We'll see. I still have a chance to go. For the next one (in Brazil in 2014), it's impossible. It's so far away and time is passing -- including for me."
The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan striker helped Brazil to victory in the 1994 and 2002 FIFA World Cup finals, shrugging off injury to end the latter tournament as top finals scorer of all time with 15 goals. He last played for his country in the 1-0 defeat to France in the quarter-final of the 2006 tournament in Germany. He scored his last goal for Brazil four days earlier in the 3-0 win over Ghana.
Ronaldo's stellar career was overshadowed by injury and fitness issues. 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, effectively keeping him out of action until March 2002.
Ronaldo was a favourite with fans at the Santiago Bernabeu during a prolific spell with Real Madrid, helping them to the Spanish title in 2003, his debut season. That year he also scored a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, second leg win over Manchester United. But injuries and his failure to control his weight led to his departure in 2007 for AC Milan.
In February 2008 he ruptured a tendon in his right knee playing for the club against Livorno, an injury that ended his career with the Italian club and triggered his return to Brazil where he signed for Corinthians last year after a long battle to regain form..