'Godfather of Flair' to make encore in Asia

Brazilian star Ronaldinho, 37, waves goodbye to competitive football as a World Cup and Ballon d'Or winner.
Brazilian star Ronaldinho, 37, waves goodbye to competitive football as a World Cup and Ballon d'Or winner.PHOTO: REUTERS

SAO PAULO • Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho has formally confirmed his retirement from football, more than two years since his last appearance as a professional, reports in Brazil said on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona star, a key member of the Brazil side which won the World Cup in 2002, last played in 2015 during a brief stint with Fluminense.

However, his brother and agent Roberto Assis said he would not play again and would now concentrate on tribute events.

"He's stopped. It's over," Assis said. "We're going to do something really big, nice, after the World Cup in Russia, probably in August. We'll do several events in Brazil, Europe and Asia, and of course, we're watching a game with the Brazilian team."

Ronaldinho's career began with Gremio in Porto Alegre, his hometown, before he emerged as a star with French giants PSG.

He then spent five years with Barcelona between 2003 and 2008. It was at the Nou Camp where he spent his glory years, turning in some of the greatest performances ever seen by the storied Spanish club, perhaps most memorably in a 3-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2005.

He helped the Catalan side win the Champions League in 2006, LaLiga in 2005 and 2006 and won the Ballon d'Or in 2005.

"The Godfather of Flair" then spent three more seasons in Europe with AC Milan between 2008 and 2011 before returning to Brazil, where he played with Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro.

A season in Mexico with Queretaro was followed by his return to Brazil and Fluminense, for whom he played seven times before cutting short his contract.

For Brazil, Ronaldinho made 97 appearances, scoring 33 goals, including two in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2018, with the headline ''Godfather of Flair' to make encore in Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe