Sports Xtra

Ronaldinho Confirms 2018 Retirement

Written by Kelvin Agbanyo
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Ronaldinho has announced his plans to officially retire from football in 2018 after over two years without a club.

The 2005 Ballon d'Or winner has been unattached since leaving Brazilian side Fluminense in September 2015—he was less than three months into an 18 month deal—but has now said he plans to officially retire next year in order to focus on other projects, per FourFourTwo:

"There is this chance, I think I'm saying goodbye to football next year, officially. I might play some farewell games for the teams I've played for, it's something we'll have to think about sometime soon. Once I'm retiring from football, then I'm moving forward on my musical projects, my football schools. It's something new for me, I'll have to adapt."

Now 37, Ronaldinho has played in various exhibition matches since departing Fluminense by mutual consent, and his agent and brother, Roberto de Assis, hinted earlier this year he was eager to sign for a club playing in the Copa Libertadores, per Uruguayan outlet Ovacion Digital (via Goal's Steve Creek).

However, a deal never materialised, and it seems the former Barcelona star has now decided to finally hang up his boots for good.

When Ronaldinho does officially confirm his retirement, it will bring to a close a stellar career.

The Brazilian playmaker lit up the European club football scene during the 2000s with Barcelona, winning two La Liga titles and the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League while at the Camp Nou.

Ronaldinho also won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil, memorably starring in the Selecao's 2-1 quarter-final defeat of England before being sent off.

As well as winning the 2005 Ballon d'Or, the Gremio youth graduate was also crowned FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005.

His peak years came at Barca between 2003 and 2008, with his career beginning to wane when he joined AC Milan—although he did win Serie A with the Italian giants in 2010-11.

Ronaldinho left the Rossoneri in 2011 after three seasons at the club and joined Brazilian club Flamengo. Spells at Atletico Mineiro and Mexican outfit Queretaro then followed before his truncated stay at Fluminense, which is likely now to be his final club.