Injury ends Ronaldo's career
Brazilian great Ronaldo admitted injury had finally got the better of him as he called time on his remarkable career.
The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year tearfully announced his retirement at the age of 34 yesterday to bring to an end the career of one of the game's greatest strikers.
Ronaldo's finest hour came at the 2002 World Cup, when his masterly performances helped see Brazil crowned world champions and earned him the Golden Boot, but three serious knee injuries cast a pall over his later years in sport. He will be best remembered for his international exploits, having scored 15 World Cup goals, breaking the record previously held by Gerd Muller.
He scored eight goals in the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea alone, including both goals in the 2-0 final victory over Germany, and in total scored 62 times for Brazil in 97 games.
But the latter years of his career had been little more than a constant struggle for fitness. "The pain made me anticipate the end of my career," Ronaldo told a press conference, at which he was flanked by his sons Alex and Ronald.
"It's very hard to leave something that made me so happy. Mentally I wanted to continue, but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body."
A clearly emotional Ronaldo revealed he had for many years been battling hypothyroidism, a deficiency of thyroid hormone which affected his ability to stay on top of his weight.
The striker also confirmed a muscle injury sustained last week had been the trigger for him to call time on his career. He said: "I thought about it at home and realised that it was time."