RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- In a tearful announcement, Corinthians star striker Ronaldo Luiz Nazario de Lima, or simply Ronaldo, revealed his decision on Monday to retire as a professional soccer player.
Surrounded by his children, the athlete declared that his heart wants to continue, but his body is unable to proceed. The 34-year- old's statement came suddenly and without warning. His decision comes only two days after teammate and friend Roberto Carlos opted to leave Corinthians based on death threats from Corinthians' fans and fear for his family's safety.
Ronaldo was expected to play the entire 2011 season with the hopes of continuing in 2012 and the chance of playing in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Ronaldo claimed that he suffers from hyperthyroidism, a disease that leads to constant body pain, weight gain, depression and tiredness.
Unable to recover quickly from injuries due to his diagnosis and the lack of bodily hormones to combat the symptoms, the athlete declared that he needed to take additional hormones, but was prohibited due to drug regulations.
The athlete openly stated that he holds no hatred towards his critics who did not know about his diagnosis. He added that he hopes his critics will be more careful in the future when judging the performance of other athletes, taking into consideration their heath conditions, family, issues of security and lifestyle.
Ronaldo described that he "lost his career to his body." Before causing more damage than already accumulated, the athlete claimed that he cannot go up a flight of stairs without feeling pain and added that in his apartment building, there is no elevator.
Both Corinthians and Ronaldo have loosely planned for a farewell in June or July. After his professional career, Ronaldo plans on expanding future career as an agent and previously expressed his interest in representing Brazilian talent such as 19- year-old Neymar.
Regarding the recent failure that was Corinthians participation in the preliminary round of the 2011 Libertadores Cup, Ronaldo asked for the fans forgiveness and comprehension. The team's elimination and resultant fan hostility is what cumulated in Roberto Carlos' departure and certainly facilitated Ronaldo's early retirement.
Ronaldo began his professional career in 1993 with Brazil's Cruzeiro. Leaving Brazil, the athlete then played for PSV Eindhoven, followed by Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and then returning to Brazil to play for Corinthians.
During his time with the above mentioned teams, the athlete scored 264 goals. With the Brazilain national team, Ronaldo scored 62 goals and remains the leading scorer during World Cup competition, scoring a record 15 goals.
After his goodbye, the coaching staff and members of the Corinthians team applauded the striker and one-by-one hugged the athlete in his last day as a professional soccer player. Ronaldo closed his discourse by stating that he will be available for any future administrative projects that Corinthians has to offer.