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Brazilian legend Rivaldo formally calls time on a wondrous career


FILE - In this June 30, 2002 file photo, Brazil’s Rivaldo celebrates with the World Cup trophy after defeating Germany 2-0 in the 2002 World Cup final, in Yokohama, Japan. The former Brazil and Barcelona star Rivaldo officially retired on Saturday, March 15, 2014, after a 24-year career that he said was built “upon a miracle” that allowed him to overcome financial challenges and disappointments. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)


Forgive yourself if you didn’t know he was still playing competitive professional soccer, but Brazilian legend Rivaldo retired from playing today.

A wizard in the midfield, the Brazil, Barcelona and Milan legend retires with a laundry list of accomplishments that would make all but a select group of footballers blush. Consider his achievements:

- 2002 World Cup winner
- Eight World Cup goals
- UEFA Champions League win with Milan
- 1999 FIFA World Player of the Year
- 1999 Ballon d’Or
- UEFA Super Cup winners with Milan and Barcelona
- Copa America and Confederations Cup winner
- League titles in La Liga, Greece, Brazil
- Cup titles in La Liga, Serie A, Greece
- Thirty-four international goals in 74 caps
- 380 goals in 813 club appearances

After playing a handful of matches alongside his son Rivaldinho for Mogi Mirim this season in Brazil’s Série C -- they were in Serie A as a 20-year-old in 1992 -- he’s decided to step away.

“With tears in my eyes today I would like to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player,” he said in a statement on social networking site Instagram.

“I have to thank the lovely career I have built over these years. There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointments, but there were much greater joys, achievements, growth, change.”

His rags-to-riches story has been an inspiration to many, escaping a malnourished childhood to achieve, well, all listed above.

He’s also part of one of the best commercials of all-time:

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