SAO PAULO - Former Brazil striker Ronaldo
who scored a record 15 World Cup goals announced his retirement
on Monday, ending one of the most successful careers in football.
The 34-year-old three-times FIFA World Player of the Year, a
twice World Cup winner, said injuries and fitness problems
prevented him from playing to his best form.
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"I came here to say today that I'm ending my career as a
professional player," Ronaldo, with his two sons at his side,
told a packed news conference at Corinthians' training complex
in Sao Paulo.
"Everyone knows about my history of injuries...and those
pains made me bring forward the end of my career."
Ronaldo, who had a contract with Corinthians until the end
of the year, said his fitness problems were the overriding
reason for his decision.
He said he discovered while playing for AC Milan in Italy
that he was suffering from a thyroid problem.
"Four years ago at Milan I discovered I was suffering from a
complaint called hypothyroidism, which slows down your
metabolism and to control it I would have to take some hormones
that are not permitted in football because of anti-doping,"
"I wanted to clarify this on the last day of my career,"
added Ronaldo, who has struggled to keep his weight down and
often suffered the jibe of "fatty" during his career.
"It's very hard to leave something that makes you so happy,
to which you gave so much, which you love so much and could even
continue doing, because mentally I still want to, but one also
has to accept some defeats. I lost to my body.
"This is the time, I'll do other things in my life, I'll be
tied to Corinthians for ever."
Ronaldo broke down in tears when he apologised to the
Corinthians fans for failing to deliver the major prize of the
Libertadores Cup and said he would still go to their matches as
He had been signed with the Libertadores Cup in mind but
Corinthians were dumped out of South America's elite club
competition, which they have never won, in the preliminary round
two weeks ago. They went out in the round of 16 in 2010, their
This season's failure led to violent protests by fans with
Ronaldo and his former Real Madrid and Brazil team mate Roberto
Carlos the main targets. Roberto Carlos has rescinded his
contract with Corinthians.
During a brilliant career riddled with goals for four major
European clubs - Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC
Milan in that order - Ronaldo was voted FIFA world player of
the year three times and also won the European footballer of the
year award twice.
He won two World Cup winners medals with Brazil. He was an
unused squad member when Brazil won the title in 1994 and their
top scorer when they won their record fifth in 2002 after he
recovered from a serious knee injury that had threatened a
premature end to his career.
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