BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Chicago Fire forward Paulo Wanchope, the second-leading scorer in Costa Rican history, retired on Friday.
The 31-year-old had 45 goals in 72 international appearances for Costa Rica. He played in Costa Rica, England, Qatar, Spain, Argentina and Japan during his 13-year professional career, spending his last season with the Fire of Major League Soccer.
He started 11 games after signing with the Fire in July, scoring two goals.
"It was difficult, but this decision had to be made," said Wanchope, who announced his retirement at a news conference in San Rafael de Heredia, Costa Rica. "The truth is that in these past six months, I had to put a big effort into recovery after matches and training."
Wanchope played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and was the first Costa Rican to score twice in one World Cup match. He had two goals against host Germany in the 2006 opener, but Costa Rica didn't make it past the first round.
He began his professional career in 1994, playing for CS Herediano until 1996. He then went on to play for Derby County, West Ham United and Manchester City in England; Malaga CF in Spain; Qatar's Al-Gharrafa Sports Club; Argentina's Rosario Central and FC Tokyo.
"I think it's a shame that Paulo has to retire at such a young age for a professional footballer," Fire coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "Because of physical problems, I can only agree with him that it was the best thing he could do."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press