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Ronaldo Plays Final Game for Brazil


Brazil's retired striker Ronaldo (L) fights for a ball with Romania's Iasmin Latovlevici during his farewell soccer match with the Brazilian team, a friendly with Romania, in Sao Paulo, June 7, 2011

Brazil's retired striker Ronaldo (L) fights for a ball with Romania's Iasmin Latovlevici during his farewell soccer match with the Brazilian team, a friendly with Romania, in Sao Paulo, June 7, 2011

Ronaldo's great football career with Brazil's national team has come to an end.

The three-time FIFA world Player of the Year was given an emotional send-off during Tuesday night's friendly match against Romania in Sao Paulo. Ronaldo had announced he was retiring in February after an 18-year career.

The 34-year-old striker made a cameo appearance in the game, won by Brazil, 1-0. He played from the 30th minute until halftime, when he was honored in a ceremony that recognized his contribution to the 'Selecao.'

Ronaldo represented Brazil in four World Cups - winning two of them - and he remains the competition's all-time leading scorer with 15 goals. Only the great Pele scored more international goals for Brazil than Ronaldo.

Players from both teams lined up near the sideline and applauded Ronaldo as he left the field at halftime. Visibly moved he put the Brazilian flag on his back, and with the ball in his hand, went around saluting the fans that packed the Pacaembu stadium.

There were banners remembering the matches in which he scored each of his 15 World Cup goals.

As a teenager, Ronaldo was a member of the squad that won the 1994 World Cup in the United States. His biggest moment came at the 2002 World Cup, after he recovered from one of the many serious knee injuries that plagued his career. He scored twice in the final against Germany to lead Brazil to its fifth world title.

In all, he scored 67 goals in 104 matches for Brazil, behind only Pele's 95 goals.

Professionally he thrived with some of Europe's top teams - Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan - but it was with Brazil that he excelled the most. His last club was Corinthians, Sao Paolo's biggest team.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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