Rivaldo announces retirement from football

Rivaldo, a FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002, has announced his retirement at the age of 41.

In a career spanning over two decades, Rivaldo played for the likes of Barcelona, Corinthians and Milan as well as amassing 74 Brazil caps, scoring 34 times for his country. 

The attacking midfielder was part of the Brazil side that beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup final and also collected a runners-up medal at France 1998.

Rivaldo won the World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or in 1999 and was named as one of FIFA's 125 greatest living footballers by Pele in 2004.

In a statement on Mogi Mirim's official website, Rivaldo, who is president of the club at which he hung up his boots, he is quoted as saying: "Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to an end.

"There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointment, but were much greater joys, achievements, growth and change.

"With the persistence, dedication and especially with the hand of God, (I) came to be recognised as the best player in the world.

"Among the 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 (in) and fighting (for).

"Everyone knows I came from a very humble family. Everything I have, I thank the football. I love to play, so it was difficult to make this decision.

"Many wanted me to quit before, but football is in my blood. Lately playing was for pleasure."

Rivaldo, who won league titles with five different clubs, will be remembered as an elegant player who scored some outstanding goals, including a bicycle kick for Barcelona against Valencia in 2001, but his play acting after being hit by a ball against Turkey at the 2002 World Cup slightly tarnished his reputation.

His final appearance came for Mogi Mirim in February, when he lined up alongside his son Rivaldinho.