The Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has retired from football, his brother and agent Roberto Assis has confirmed.
The 37-year-old has also won the Champions League and Ballon d’Or in a glittering career. He has not played for a professional team since leaving Fluminense in 2015. Last July, Ronaldinho said on the sidelines of a friendly in Chechnya that he was “too old” to return to action.
Roberto Assis confirmed the news of his brother’s decision in a column for the Brazilian media outlet O Globo. He revealed plans for farewell tribute events after the 2018 World Cup – three years after Ronaldinho’s last club game.
“He has stopped, it is ended,” Assis said. “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.”
Many have been paying tribute to the ‘magician’ Ronaldinho, including Barcelona FC. Tweeting to Ronaldinho, the Spanish club wrote: ‘Camp Nou’s ever-smiling magician.
Thanks for everything!’
AC Milan also tweeted ‘#Ronaldinho, the man who enchanted San Siro and every football fan has officially retired’.
PSG’s £196m Neymar tweeted to Ronaldinho: “What an honour to be part of your history. I’ll always remember your joy on the field. You’ve left a legacy that will hardly be beaten in the art of football. Thank you for everything that you did for football lovers.”
Unmatched versatile player
Ronaldinho’s versatility meant he excelled as an attacking midfielder, winger and forward throughout his career. He began with Grêmio in his home country, before moving to Europe with Paris Saint-Germain in 2001.
His performances alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo at the 2002 World Cup drew interest from Europe’s elite clubs. He joined Barcelona in 2003. His five-year spell at the Camp Nou was the pinnacle of his club career. It was there were he won two league titles, the 2005 Ballon d’Or and the 2006 Champions League.
After a period of huge success, Ronaldinho reportedly lost focus at Barcelona and was sold to AC Milan. The playmaker helped Milan win the Serie A title in 2010-11.
Ronaldinho returned to Brazil at the end of that season, and wound down his club career at Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro and Fluminense. He also had a brief spell in Mexico with Querétaro.
He earned the last of his 98 Brazil caps against Chile in April 2013.