Brazilian forward Rivaldo (Photo: Reuters)
Former Brazil and Barcelona playmaker Rivaldo announced his retirement from soccer on Saturday.
The 41-year-old hung up his boots following a career in which he helped Brazil win the World Cup in 2002 and was named Fifa World Player of the Year in 1999.
He said he came to the decision in the middle of the night, just days before Mogi Mirim, the club he plays for and runs, were due to face two relegation battles.
"Last night I had called my son (Rivaldo Junior) and asked him to take my kit to Itapira because I was going to go straight there," he said in a statement posted on Mogi Mirim's website.
"But I woke up in the middle of the night and after a few minutes of meditation I came to this decision.
"I gave it more than my body wanted me to give. I sacrificed myself to help us get out the situation we are in today. It's not a desperate situation but we need to be careful."
The club needs three points from their last two games to avoid relegation to the Sao Paulo state Serie B.
Rivaldo will continue as president of Mogi Mirim Esporte Club.
Famously timid and camera shy, he had a long and successful career in both Brazil, where he made his name at Palmeiras, and in Spain, where he played for Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona.
He also played in Greece and for a host of smaller clubs in his homeland.
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