A list of the most exciting footballers of all time would not be complete without Ronaldinho. The 2005 Ballon d’Or winner became a global sensation thanks to his flicks and tricks in the shirts of Brazil and Barcelona, among others. So why did a player with so much skill and worldwide appeal decide to hang up his boots?
Ronaldinho retired after realising he could no longer produce the same scintillating performances that he did earlier in his career. The Brazilian legend’s final match took place on September 26, 2015, when he played the first half in Fluminense’s 2-0 win over Goias in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.
The 2002 World Cup winner only joined Fluminense two months earlier. Despite signing an 18-month deal with the club, he knew he was not performing at a level that people expected of him. Two days after the Goias game, he agreed to leave Fluminense by mutual consent.
When did Ronaldinho retire?
Although his last competitive outing came in 2015, the Brazil icon did not immediately retire. In fact, more than two years passed before fans received a definitive answer on whether he planned to return to the pitch.
Ronaldinho officially retired on January 16, 2018. His brother and agent, Roberto Assis, confirmed the news in a column for Brazilian publication O Globo. “He has stopped, it is ended,” said Assis.
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Six months before the announcement, Ronaldinho all but confirmed his retirement during a friendly match. He simply said he was “too old” to play football when asked about his future.
What age did Ronaldinho retire?
Ronaldinho was 37 years old when he retired from football in 2018, but he was 35 years old when he played in his final competitive match in 2015.
The average retirement age for an outfield player is 35, so Ronaldinho’s unofficial decision to leave the game at that age (with his official retirement coming two-and-a-half years later) should not have come as a huge surprise.
In the latter stages of his career, Ronaldinho was offered a route back into international football by Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2013. Despite showing glimpses of his former self at Atletico Mineiro, he was not included in Brazil’s 2014 World Cup squad.
Ronaldinho career stats
Between 1998 and 2015, Ronaldinho represented the following clubs: Gremio, Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, AC Milan, Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro, Queretaro and Fluminense. At international level, he played for Brazil’s Under-17s, Under-20s, Under-23s, Olympic team and senior team.
Ronaldinho scored 266 goals in 699 club appearances. He also scored 62 goals in 154 appearances for Brazil’s multiple age groups, including 33 goals in 97 games at senior level.
In terms of silverware, Ronaldinho’s biggest accomplishment is undoubtedly his 2002 World Cup triumph with Brazil. He was also part of the Selecao squads that won the 1999 Copa America and 2005 Confederations Cup.