Report: Ronaldo set to announce his retirement
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.''
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.