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Adeus, Fenômeno!

February 14, 2011

Ronaldo: a closed chapter...

Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima is no longer a footballer.

The man known as “The Phenomenon” officially announced his retirement at what was an emotional and deeply moving press conference this afternoon in Sao Paulo.

What made it so moving and sentimental weren’t his words, or big speeches or anything of that sort. But the simplicity of it all. The humility, sincerity and pain painted upon the face of someone who was arguably the greatest striker the modern game has seen.

Ronaldo could barely speak. With tears rolling down his cheeks, he could only state the obvious: “I come here to announce my retirement from professional football.”

And then he went on to describe his feelings and reasons for said decision. Ronaldo talked about his long list of injuries, his constant pains and weak knees, his disappointment for not being able to help Corinthians win the Copa Libertadores this year…

Everything he said were already known facts. His words, reasons for this and that were all predictably obvious and understandable…

But the tone. The long pauses. The tears and the sheer and gut-wrenching sincerity with which he delivered his simple words were painfully beautiful.

A true living legend, three times the best player on the planet, twice World Cup winner, apologizing to the fans for not being able to win more trophies in the last couple of years…

He even had the sweet cojones of saying, when talking about his weight issues, “thank you to my critics, for making me stronger”.

Once again, simple and diplomatic words (why would one try and pick a fight during a farewell speech), but the truth and melancholia in his tone were utterly devastating.

It was the tone of a tormented man. An average man, like you and me. A simple man, wearing a ridiculous shirt and summer shorts.

It is refreshing, albeit extremely painful, to witness such real qualities in a man everyone calls “the Phenomenon”.

At one point, during his speech, Ronaldo paused and turned around to check on his two boys who were sitting behind him. “Is he sleeping?”, he asked his eldest son, referring to the younger kiddo. “Yep”, the older brother replied. Ronaldo smiled, turned back to the reporters, and continued to stare at the room filled with cameras and bright lights…as if saying “what more do you want me to say? We’re done…”

Evidently, this wouldn’t have been a Ronaldo exit without some controversies. In his speech, he revealed that at Milan he was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, a condition that dramatically slows down one’s metabolism; and he mentioned that the only way for his weight to be effectively controlled would have been for him to take drugs that are considered illegal in football. In an unfortunate case of mistranslation, Twitter imploded with the news that “at Milan, Ronaldo was prescribed illegal drugs to fight weight”. Thankfully, after a few hours, all was corrected, and the good name of MilanLab (and Ronaldo) was restored.

Perhaps that was just a case of us, die hard fans at heart, unconsciously trying to find a desperate novelty about Ronaldo; trying to tell the world “hey, look, Ronaldo may be gone, but look at this, there’s news regarding him still…”

Alas, no.

There are no news about Ronaldo anymore. Even today’s official announcement wasn’t news.

It was just the obvious. The sensible. A miserable fact. A sad reality.

The greatest player I have had the pleasure of following in my lifetime is gone.

It isn’t surprising at all that he said goodbye today…

But that tone. That voice…

Parting has never been such sweet sorrow…

Thank you Ronaldo.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. GauchoFenomeno permalink
    February 19, 2011 5:32 am

    I truly and genuinely feel your pain brother. For me, he was the greatest

    • February 19, 2011 6:18 pm

      Valeu Veio! He was the absolute genius striker of our generation…will have to wait 50 years now, for someone like him…”like” him. Never quite Ronaldo. 😉


  1. Ronaldo: Like Treating An Open Wound « Futebol Thoughts!

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