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Report: Ronaldo set to announce his retirement

SAO PAULO (AP) _ Three-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldo will announce his retirement from football on Monday, according to a Brazilian newspaper.

``It's time,'' Ronaldo was quoted as saying by the website of the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper on Sunday. ``I can't keep going. I wanted to continue but I can't. I think about making a play but I can't execute it.''
 

(AP)
(AP)

Ronaldo's agent, Fabiano Farah, didn't confirm the report but told local media that it is a possibility. Corinthians has announced a news conference for Monday afternoon at the team's headquarters, without giving further details.

Last week, the 34-year-old Ronaldo was heavily blamed by fans for Corinthians' disappointing elimination from the Copa Libertadores, Latin America's most important competition and the only major tournament the Brazilian club is yet to win.

Supporters damaged players' cars and threw rocks at the team's bus, and Ronaldo said at the time that the fan violence made his consider putting an end to his career.

He had been expected to keep playing until the end of the year, but he is visibly out of shape with his physical condition having deteriorated. He has been struggling to play at a high level and hadn't scored a goal since last year.

If the retirement is confirmed, Ronaldo will be ending a stellar 18-year career.

He played in three World Cups and remains the tournament's all-time scoring leader with 15 goals. He helped Brazil win the title in 2002 in South Korea and Japan, scoring twice in the final.

Ronaldo thrived in Europe after leaving Cruzeiro to PSV Eindhoven in 1993, starring for Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and AC Milan before returning to Brazil at the beginning of 2009 to recover from the third serious knee injury of his career. He won the FIFA player of the year award in 1996, 1997 and 2002.

Ronaldo scored 62 goals in 97 internationals with Brazil, but was never called up again to the national team after a disappointing performance at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. There were calls for his return to the squad after he helped Corinthians win the 2009 Brazilian Cup, but he was never able to get back in shape.

Ronaldo brought a lot of sponsors to Corinthians and is expected to remain linked to the club's football operations, at least until his contract is set to expire at the end of the year.

His announcement to stop playing would come two days after former Brazil teammate Roberto Carlos said he was leaving the club because he and his family were being threatened by fans after the Copa Libertadores elimination.



<관련 기사>

"호나우두, 현역 은퇴 임박"<브라질신문>

월드컵 통산 최다 득점(15골) 기록을 보유한 브라질 축구 영웅 호나우두(35.코린티안스)의 현역 은퇴가 임박했다는 현지 언론의 보도가 나왔다.

브라질 일간지 에스타도 데 상파울루 인터넷판은 14일(이하 한국시간) 호나우두가 15일 현역 은퇴를 공식 선언할 전망이라고 보도했다.

이 신문은 '이제 (은퇴할) 때가 됐다. 계속 선수생활을 하고 싶지만 더는  못하

겠다. 마음먹은 플레이를 해낼 수가 없다'는 호나우두의 말을 인용하면서 "호나우두의 에이전트는 확답을 피했지만 15일 코린티안스에서 열리는 기자회견에서 최종  은퇴를 선언할 것으로 예상된다"고 전했다.

애초 올해 시즌을 마친 뒤 현역 생활을 정리하려던 호나우두는 고질적인 부상 후유증과 팀 성적 부진으로 팬들의 비난에 시달리면서 은퇴 시기를 앞당긴 것으로 보인다.

호나우두는 FC바르셀로나(스페인), 인터밀란(이탈리아), 레알 마드리드(스페인)등 유럽 명문 구단을 거치며 국제축구연맹(FIFA) 올해의 선수상을 3차례나 받았던 초특급 스트라이커다.

1998년 프랑스월드컵에서 4골을 넣은 호나우두는 2002년 한일월드컵에서는  8골을 몰아넣어 득점왕에 올랐고, 2006년 독일월드컵 때는 3골을 추가해 월드컵 통산 최다득점(15골)의 주인공이 됐다.

2006년 월드컵 이후 대표팀의 부름을 받지 못한 호나우두는 고질적인 무릎 부상과 과체중 논란 속에서도 2009년 코린티안스의 브라질리안 컵 우승에 일조하며 재기를 꿈꿨지만 작년부터는 팀에서도 골을 기록하지 못하는 등 악화일로를 걸어왔다.

이런 상황에서 최근 남미클럽대항전인 코파 리베르타도레스에서 팀이 조기  탈락하면서 일부 팬들이 선수단 버스에 돌을 던지는 등 비난 수위가 높아졌고, 팬들의 협박 전화를 견디다 못한 동료 수비수 호베르투 카를로스(38)까지 팀을 떠나기로 결정하면서 18년간의 선수생활을 마감하기로 결정한 것으로 보인다고 이 신문은  덧붙였다. (연합뉴스)
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