SAO PAULO, BRAZIL: Brazilian football legend Ronaldo on Monday announced his retirement from professional football after a stellar 18-year career, the Estadao newspaper reported.
Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, 34, said that he decided to retiree following a series of injuries that affected him during the last two seasons, including hypothyroidism, and kept him from performing at a high level with his club Corinthians.
The world-acclaimed striker won two World Cups and is the highest scorer in the competition's history. Ronaldo returned to play in Sao Paulo's Corinthians after stints with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
"I want to thank my family and all of you who criticized me and helped me be stronger in every moment of my life. I want to thank all the Brazilian fans who cried with me, cheered me, and especially I want to thank the supporters of Corinthians," said Ronaldo in a press conference.
The 34-year-old striker was accompanied by his two sons, Ronald and Alex, while announcing his retirement. Before the press conference, he informed his teammates of his decision.
"I wanted to continue, but I can't. I think of an action, but I can't do it the way I want to. It's time," added Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was one of the best strikers in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. THe forward won the FIFA Player of the Year award three times, an achievement that he shares with former Real Madrid teammate Zinedine Zidane.
He began his career in 1993, when he was only 17 years old, for Brazil's Cruzeiro. He scored 12 goals in 14 games and was sold to Dutch PSV Eindhoven after the 1994 World Cup. He scored 30 goals in his first European season.
His fantastic skills were noticed by major European clubs and Ronaldo was signed by Barcelona for the 1996-1997 season. He scored a total of 352 goals in 515 matches.
(BNO NEWS )