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World Soccer views and news
Ronaldo has just made the official announcement that he is to retire with immediate effect, bringing to an end one of the great soccer stories.
The 34-year-old Brazilian announced his decision at a news conference in Sao Paulo a few moments ago, after concluding that the battle for fitness — always a bruising struggle — was one he could no longer win.
I suspect a few people will react by shrugging their shoulders and saying they didn’t even know he was still playing but the end of the road for such a great player deserves marking properly, so here’s an appreciation by our own Brian Homewood, for many years our correpondent in Rio de Janeiro.
By Brian Homewood
Three times World Player of the Year, twice World Cup winner and overall topscorer in the tournament’s history – not a bad record for a player who suffered three serious knee injuries and was constantly fighting weight problems.
A glance at the stats shows Miroslav Klose has one more chance to equal or better the all-time record for World Cup goals when Germany play the third-place game against Uruguay but the truth is he has a strong claim to be joint top-scorer already.
According to FIFA, the record holder, out on his own, is the Brazilian striker Ronaldo, with 15 goals.
What more could Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos have in common with Juan Sebastian Veron later this year apart from being among the greatest players in South American football?
As Rex Gowar and Pedro Fonseca write, it is not new for South Americans to return home after brilliant careers in Europe and gain a new lease of life well into their 30s. Veron, though, touched new heights when he led Estudiantes to victory in the Libertadores Cup — South America’s Champions League — in 2009.
France striker Karim Benzema is joining Real Madrid from Olympique Lyon, the Ligue 1 club said on Wednesday on their website.
The 21-year-old Benzema will become Real’s third major signing under returning president Florentino Perez after Brazil’s Kaka and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The campaign to be the next president of Real Madrid Football Club has finally kicked into gear with the claim from the little known Eduardo Garcia that, if elected on June 14, he will bring with him the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.
Promising big-name signings has long been an easy way for candidates to drum up support for the presidency at Real and Barcelona, the two member-owned Spanish clubs, but ever since Florentino Perez came from nowhere to take the 2000 election what was once an entertaining sideshow has become the key battleground.
Ronaldo was not surprisingly delighted to lay hands on a winner’s medal so soon after returning from last year’s knee injury but even he probably knows deep down that it is not that much to get excited about.
Ronaldo’s performances for Corinthians have already started talk of a Brazil recall — he has not played for his country since the 2006 World Cup — and national team coach Dunga was in the crowd when Corinthians held Santos 1-1 to win the Paulista championship on Sunday.
UEFA’s teams of the year feature is irresistible reading for lovers of footballing gossip, particularly in Spain and Argentina.
Javier Zanetti, Leo Messi and Kun Aguero have all published their best XIs of 2008 on uefa.com and there are a couple of conspicious absentees…
Ronaldo is back. Nearly 10 months after suffering a serious knee injury during a Serie A game for AC Milan, the third such misfortune in his career, he has agreed terms to join Corinthians, one of Brazil’s biggest and most volatile clubs.
Even before the injury, Ronaldo had been struggling amid speculation he was overweight but had lost his hunger for the game. He had not been picked by Brazil since his much-criticised performance at the 2006 World Cup and was eventually off-loaded to Milan from Real Madrid less than six months later.
Brazilian Ronaldo was huffing and puffing after his short cameo in Morocco on Monday against a Zinedine Zidane XI and now he is seriously considering retirement.
“I don’t know if I will continue playing or retire. I still haven’t taken a decision,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “There is no rush. I could decide tomorrow or in a month. I really don’t know.”
If you had told Rivaldo a few years ago that he would end up playing in Uzbekistan, it is doubtful he would have believed you.
Playing in Greece with Olimpiakos and AEK Athens was already an unusual place for the ageing former World Cup winner to wind down his career. Gary Lineker went to Japan, David Beckham to the U.S. but the Brazilian signing for Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor is something else.