Brazilian great Ronaldo admitted injury had finally got the better of him as he called time on his remarkable career.
The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year tearfully announced his retirement at the age of 34 on Monday. Ronaldo's finest hour came at the 2002 World Cup, when his masterly performances helped see Brazil crowned world champions and earned him the Golden Boot, but three serious knee injuries cast a pall over his later years in sport.
"The pain made me anticipate the end of my career," Ronaldo told a press conference, at which he was flanked by his sons Alex and Ronald.
"It's very hard to leave something that made me so happy. Mentally I wanted to continue, but I have to acknowledge that I lost to my body."
A clearly emotional Ronaldo revealed he had for many years been battling hypothyroidism, a deficiency of thyroid hormone which affected his ability to stay on top of his weight. The striker also confirmed a muscle injury sustained last week had been the trigger for him to call time on his career.
He said: "I thought about it at home and realised that it was time. I had given everything that I had."
Ronaldo had been expected to see out the season with current club Corinthians and retire in July but the club's early elimination from the Copa Libertadores at the hands of Deportes Tolima a fortnight ago is also believed to have contributed to his decision to end his career ahead of schedule.
Ronaldo was seen visiting his team-mates at Corinthians' training ground, where he spoke briefly before leaving to confirm his retirement to the world's media.
"I thanked all the players, the coach Tite, for all the minutes, for every second I was with them," added Ronaldo.
"It was a very beautiful career, wonderful and exciting. [There were] a lot of defeats and a lot of victories. I made a lot of friends, and I can't recall any enemies."