Ronaldo Retiring: One of Brazil's Greatest Strikers Leaves the Game

James WillisAnalyst IFebruary 14, 2011

MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19:  Ronaldo of Brazil during the fifth Match against Poverty at the La Rosaleda stadium on November 19, 2007 in Malaga, Spain. As Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane each year captain an international team for the Match against Poverty soccer match, aimed at mobilizing the public in the fight against poverty.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

The name Ronaldo has become associated with unbelievable speed, ability and deadly finishing. Despite the best efforts of the Portuguese 'Cristiano', the name Ronaldo will always be associated with the Brazilian striker.

In fact, the name has been so popular that even current players have taken notice. Fellow Brazilian sensation Ronaldhino got his name from the meaning "Little Ronaldo", after his Brazilian counterpart.

With that being said, it is now the end of an era for Brazil, as the controversial legend has announced his retirement from football.

The Brazilian released a statement saying, "I can't take any more. I wanted to continue, but I can't do it any more. I think of an action, but I can't do it the way I want to. It's time. It's the body that's hurting me. The head wants to go on, but the body can't take any more."

Ronaldo had been playing for the Brazilian club Corinthians since 2009, but a period of tough injuries have now taken their toll on the player as he feels he can no longer continue playing.

The former Brazil international remains the World Cup's all-time top goal scorer with 15 goals, ahead of Gerd Muller and Miroslav Klose of Germany. He has also won the World Cup with his country twice in his career, as well as winning FIFA World Player of the Year three times.

The famous star began his professional career with Cruzeiro in 1993, scoring 12 goals in his 14 appearances for the club. His goal scoring record allowed him to make his first move to Europe in 1994 to PSV Eindhoven, where he went on to score 42 goals in 46 appearances.

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During this time, Ronaldo was included as part of the 1994 World Cup winning Brazil squad alongside fellow legends Romario, Bebeto and Dunga. The nation went on to win the tournament, going down as one of the most exciting teams in recent years.

In 1996, Ronaldo's form led him to Barcelona for a record breaking fee. He made 49 appearances over the course of a year at Barcelona, during which time he scored an incredible 47 goals. By the end of 1996, Ronaldo became the youngest player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award and finished as runner up in the Ballon d'Or.

This successful spell at the Spanish giants then led him to make another record breaking transfer in 1997 to Inter Milan. Ronaldo spent five years at Inter, quickly becoming an icon for the team. He scored 59 goals in his 99 appearances for the club. At the end of 1997, he won his second successive FIFA World Player of the Year award as well as finishing first in the Ballon d'Or this time around.

During his time at Inter Milan, Ronaldo took part in the 1998 World Cup for Brazil, leading them to the final against host nation France. Before the final Ronaldo was reported to have suffered from a convulsive fit. He was subsequently removed from the lineup by the manager Mario Zagallo, but later reinstated at the strikers request. The incident is thought to have been a key factor in the outcome of the match, which France won 3-0.

During the same summer that the striker left Inter Milan, he also played at the 2002 World Cup. This time winning the trophy with his squad, that again included Brazilian legends such as Cafu and Rivaldo.

Ronaldo won his third FIFA World Player of the Year award and second Ballon d'Or award in 2002, thanks to his performances at the World Cup. The Brazilian striker also made a transfer from Inter Milan to Real Madrid, playing as part of the famous 'Galacticos' era at the club.

Over his five years at Real Madrid, Ronaldo scored 83 goals in 127 matches, keeping up his magnificent scoring record. In 2006, he also took part in his fourth consecutive World Cup finals, during which he broke the World Cup scoring record.

In 2007, Ronaldo joined AC Milan for a short stint, making him one of the few players to play for both teams in the Italian Milan rivalry and the Spanish Madrid-Barcelona rivalry. Struggling with weight gain, Ronaldo was not quite as successful at AC Milan, but still managed to score nine goals in his 20 appearances for the club before moving to Corinthians in 2009.

Regardless of the issues the Brazilian striker has suffered in his private life and the controversy he has had surrounding him, Ronaldo will always be remembered for his magnificent playing days.

"I love to score goals after passing all the defenders as well as the keeper. This is not my speciality, but my habit." - Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (1993-2011)