The Spoiler was just a whipper-snapper when Ronaldo first came to our attention and he absolutely blew our tiny little mind. He was unbelievably strong, quick and skilful — he's what Jonah Lomu could've been if he'd not lived in New Zealand and made the right life choices.
Today he announced his retirement from football by saying:
"The head wants to go on but the body can't take any more. I think of an action but I can't do it the way I want to. It's time to go."
It's a rather muted end for the three-time world player of the year but he will always be remembered as one of the greats.
It's easy to reduce a player's career down to statistics — especially if they happen to be a striker — but in Ronaldo's case it's probably more inappropriate than most.
Yes, he's the top goal-scorer in World Cup history, scored a hat-tick at Old Trafford and scored X goals in X games BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. But it's the way he went about it that was truly bloody fantastic.
He could go around players, go through players and was as good a finisher as you'd care to see. But he also played with a smile on his face and he still seems to thoroughly enjoy his life — we'd definitely send him a Valentine's card.
Ronaldo, you can enjoy your life of yachts and models safe in the knowledge you were one of the greats.
Above is a video of our favourite Ronaldo moments. The first one is after 30ish seconds and the second one immediately follows — two goals that summed up the early part of his career. He bloody destroys them.
This post, written by Richard Anderson, is republished with permission from The Spoiler. Go there often if you like soccer stuff.