Ronaldo announces retirement

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Brazilian great Ronaldo has tearfully announced his retirement, admitting his body had finally succumbed to the crippling litany of injuries that have blighted his remarkable career.

The 34-year-old's career arguably reached its zenith with his masterly performances at the 2002 World Cup, but three serious knee injuries cast a pall over his later years in sport.

The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year will perhaps be best remembered for his international exploits, having scored 15 World Cup goals, breaking the record previously held by Gerd Muller.

He scored eight goals in the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea alone, including both goals in the 2-0 final victory over Germany, and in total scored 62 times for Brazil in 97 appearances.

But the latter years of his career had been little more than a constant struggle for fitness, and in announcing his retirement Ronaldo admitted he was giving up an uneven struggle.

"The pain made me anticipate the end of my career," Ronaldo told a press conference, at which he was flanked by his sons Alex and Ronald.

"It's very hard to leave something that made me so happy. Mentally I wanted to continue, but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body."

A clearly emotional Ronaldo revealed he had for many years been battling hypothyroidism, a deficiency of thyroid hormone which affected his ability to stay on top of his weight.

The striker also confirmed a muscle injury sustained last week had been the trigger for him to call time on his career.

Ronaldo had been expected to see out the season with current club Corinthians and retire in July but the club's early elimination from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Deportes Tolima a fortnight ago is also believed to have contributed to his decision to end his career ahead of schedule.

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