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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Mar 15, 2014

Rivaldo retires from football

World Cup winner and former World Player of the Year Rivaldo has announced that he has retired from football.

Rivaldo (l) wins the World Cup in 2002
Rivaldo was viewed as one of the best players in the world.

The Brazilian, 41, won the World Cup in 2002 and also the Champions League in 2003, while he was named the best player on the planet in 1999 during an impressive five-year stint with Spanish club Barcelona.

However, after missing almost an entire season for Milan in 2003-04, Rivaldo has spent the last decade at clubs in Greece, Uzbekistan and back in his native Brazil -- most recently at Sao Paulo-based side Mogi Mirim (where he played alongside his son.)

And he has now chosen to hang up his boots, after revealing on Instagram:

"With tears in my eyes today I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player. Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to the end.

"Just I have to thank the lovely career I have built over this years. There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointments, but were much greater joys, achievements, growth, change. Sometimes teaching other learning but never lost my focus, always with dedication, determination and direction of God. In this long journey, many people passed through my life, some for a period, other friends who remain until now.

"I built my career upon a miracle, leaving in Paulista, no financial resources, no businessman, incentives only of my family, discredited by doctors and trainers , saw a distant dream come true. With persistence, dedication and especially with the hand of God, I came to be recognized as the best player in the world, world champion, among many other important titles in the history of football.

"Among trophies, medals, awards and titles, in a land where everything is consumed, here I leave a story, perhaps an example, but surely a testimony that is worth believing and fighting. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."

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