Ronaldo was a player whose extraordinary eye for the goal made him a threat even when he was not in ideal physical shape.
And when he was fit, Ronaldo was unstoppable.
But eventually, as he said himself, he "lost to his body".
Here is a look at his remarkable career and the injuries which curbed the legend.
|Ronaldo was a player whose extraordinary eye for the goal made him a threat even when he was not in ideal physical shape.
Ronaldo burst onto the scene with Cruzeiro and soon joined Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven.
By 1996 he had reached Barcelona, where he scored 47 goals in 49 outings.
Still only 20, he become the youngest winner of FIFA's World Player of the Year.
The prolific striker was signed by Inter Milan for a record fee in 1997 and won the top footballer award again. He would stay with Inter until 2002.
From 2002-2007 Ronaldo took his gifts to Spain, joining Real Madrid. He scored 82 goals in 127 appearances, helping Real win La Liga twice.
After his time in Madrid, Ronaldo then moved back to Serie A, where he joined AC Milan. Despite being on the downslope in his career due to heavy weight and injuries, the Brazilian forward played with dignity and confidence.
In 2009, Ronaldo bid farewell to Europe and returned to Brazil, to play for Corinthians, where he ended his career.
Ronaldo's success with the Brazilian national team was even more phenomenal.
Ronaldo made his World Cup debut in 1994, a seldom used 17 year-old substitute on the winning Brazil team.
Four years later, he emerged...scoring four goals and adding three assists in France where the hosts beat Brazil in the final.
In 2002, Ronaldo led Brazil to their fifth World Cup, winning the Golden Boot as top scorer with 8 goals.
Ronaldo scored his 15th World Cup goal breaking Gerd Muller's record in the 2006 Germany World Cup. This record has yet to be broken.
However, injuries hampered Ronaldo from becoming even greater than he was. He ruptured a tendon in his knee in 1999 with Inter, which forced him to take a 114-day leave. But he returned only to injure his knee again.
And another severe knee injury occurred in 2008 with AC Milan, which helped lead to his exit from Europe.
A three time World Player of the Year, two time World Cup winner and the leading scorer in World Cup history. An icon of the game and one of the greatest ever, Ronaldo leaves a lasting legacy as he moves on to life after football.