Ronaldinho, Brazil, Barcelona Soccer Legend, Retires With Global Praise
two-time FIFA World Player of the Year and FIFA World Cup™ winner Ronaldinho has retired from professional football, bringing to an end a two-decade career on the pitch adorned with medals, trophies and a legacy of outrageous talent.
The Brazilian maestro, 37, last featured for a professional club in 2015 with Fluminense, with his brother and agent Roberto Assis announcing the decision to end his time on the field with a series of farewell events later in the year.
Having been instrumental in guiding Brazil back to the pinnacle of world football at Korea/Japan 2002, the forward caught the imaginations of the globe with his overwhelmingly-mesmerising invention on the ball.
A catalyst for millions of young fans to try to emulate his quick feet and outrageous skill, he won back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year Awards in 2004 and 2005.
However, he had already been a sparkling presence in the game for the best part of a decade by then, scoring twice – while still known as ‘Ronaldo’ – as Brazil triumphed at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 1997. He then clinched the Copa America and swept the individual awards at the FIFA Confederations Cup two years later, by then
sporting ‘Ronaldinho’ across his back.
He rose to global prominence while at Paris Saint-Germain, before his 2003 move to Barcelona – for a reported €30m club-record fee – saw him become a footballing megastar. While he was unable to capture the FIFA Club World Cup with them in 2006
or repeat World Cup glory that same year, he did add the 2005 FIFA Confederations
Cup to his trophy cabinet while picking up two La Liga titles at the Camp Nou.
“He was the change of Barcelona for what Barcelona is right now,” ex-Blaugrana team-mate Luis Garcia explained. “He was something special, he was the best player by far in the world. He could do anything. Every single session, training session or game he was special and I enjoyed just watching him play so much.”
With spells at AC Milan and Flamengo following, he added his second continental title by triumphing in the 2013 Copa Libertadores with Atletico Mineiro, before adding a bronze Club World Cup medal to accompany the silver he claimed eight years earlier.Roberto Assis confirmed the news of his brother’s decision in a column
for Brazil media outlet O Globo and revealed plans for farewell tribute events following the 2018 World Cup.He has stopped, it is ended,” Assis said. “Let’s do something pretty big and nice (for his farewell) after the Russia World Cup, probably in August. “We will do various events in Brazil, Europe and Asia and, of course, we are arranging something with the Brazilian team as well.” Assis, who confirmed sponsors Nike would also be involved in Ronaldinho’s farewell events, added: “The fact that he has been Barcelona’s ambassador for 10 years makes it a lot easier out there. He is wanted there and here (back in Brazil).”
Ronaldinho started his career with Gremio before moving to Paris St Germain in 2001. After leaving Barcelona, the Brazilian also had a spell at AC Milan where he won the Serie A title in 2010/11. In fact, Ronaldinho started his playing career as a seven-year-old at youth level with hometown club Gremio in 1987, learning his craft until finally breaking into the first-team at 18.
It only took him one full season in the Brazilian league to find his feet, firing home 23 goals in 48 matches in his second year with the first-team, earning him his international debut and ultimately the 1999 Copa America title, where Ronaldinho finished as the joint-Golden Boot winner with six strikes. That form launched him into the European spotlight, with Arsenal having even attempted to sign him, only for the deal to fall through over visa issues.]]>