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Ronaldinho, the Magician, Announces His Retirement

Ronaldinho, the Magician, Announces His Retirement

Thursday, 18 January, 2018 - 11:15
Britain Football Soccer - England XI v Rest of the World XI - Soccer Aid 2016 - Old Trafford - 5/6/16 Rest of the World XI's Ronaldinho Action Images via Reuters / Ed Sykes

Former Brazil and Barcelona midfielder Ronaldinho, who won the World Cup, Champions League, Copa Libertadores and World Player of the Year award, is retiring from the game at the age of 37, his brother and agent Assis said on Tuesday.

Ronaldinho has not played a competitive match since 2015 but had avoided calling a definitive halt to his career until now.

“He’s stopped. It’s over,” Assis told the Rio de Janeiro newspaper O Globo. “We’re going to do something pretty big, something cool, after the World Cup in Russia, probably in August.”

The events, most likely farewell matches, will take place in Brazil, Europe and Asia, and could include a match with the national team, Assis said.

Ronaldinho, who will be 38 in March, began his career at Gremio and played for seven other clubs, including Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan, Queretaro and Brazilian sides Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro and Fluminense.

"God has been good to me, he allowed me to live football," Ronaldinho told So Foot magazine in July.

"I loved what I did... and I had the satisfaction of enjoying myself while giving pleasure to others."

Born in 1980 in Porto Alegre -- the happy port -- in the south of Brazil, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira started life dribbling around dogs in his working-class local neighborhood, Vila Nova.

His professional career began in 1998 for Gremio, a few days before his 18th birthday.

Back then he picked up the Gaucho nickname -- given to people from the south -- to distinguish him from O Fenomeno (the phenomenon) Ronaldo as the three-time world player of the year was himself nicknamed Ronaldinho early in his career.

It took Ronaldinho Gaucho only a year to earn his first call-up for Brazil and during the Copa America in June 1999 he exploded onto the international scene.

"Look what he's doing, look what he's doing!" enthused TV Globo commentator Galvao Bueno during a match against Venezuela after Ronaldinho performed a rainbow flick.

Big European teams weren't slow to come calling and it was something of a surprise to see Ronaldinho snapped up by Paris Saint-Germain in 2001.

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