The Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has formally confirmed his retirement from football, more than two years since his last appearance as a professional.
“He has stopped, it is ended,” his brother and agent Roberto Assis has confirmed the news in a column for the Brazilian media outlet O Globo. He also revealed plans for farewell tribute events after the 2018 World Cup, “Let’s do something pretty big and nice 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.”
Ronaldinho started his career in Grêmio in Brazil, before moving to Europe with Paris Saint-Germain in 2001. He was an integral part of the Brazilian World Cup winning side in 2002 alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo. He scored two goals, including a curling free-kick from 40 yards out against England and was registered two assists. He was also named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team. As captain, le led Brazil to its second ever Confederations Cup title in 2005 and was named Man of the Match in a 4–1 victory over archrivals Argentina in the final. Ronaldinho scored three goals in the tournament, taking his total to a record-tying nine goals, making him the competition’s joint all-time leading goalscorer.
During that glorious period, he was one of the most sought after footballers of the world. His 2002 World Cup performance put him in the elite league and was signed Barcelona in 2003. It was the defining moment of his career.
His five-year spell at the Spanish Club was the pinnacle of his club career. In all those years he won two league titles, the 2005 Ballon d’Or and the 2006 Champions League. Lionel Messi claimed that Ronaldinho acted as a responsible senior in his initial days in Camp Nou. “Everyone welcomed me into the dressing room, and Ronaldinho welcomed me in a spectacular way,” he said. “To go into that dressing room was not easy but he made it all so much easier.”
Ronaldinho’s versatility was proved as he excelled as an attacking midfielder, winger and forward in different stages of his career. After his huge success in Europe, he somewhat lost focus at Barcelona and was sold to A.C. Milan. But it was almost a sort of decline of the master footballer. He let Brazil down at the 2006 World Cup and also missed out on selection for the 2010 edition. However, a bit of the former class was witnessed when he Milan win the Serie A title in 2010-11.
Roaldinho has not played for a professional team since leaving Fluminense in 2015. The man who had 98 international caps for Brazil made his day playing invitational tournaments and Futsal. He was himself not so sure of any professional comeback as he said, “I am not too old to return to action.”