Brazil great Ronaldinho is officially retiring from football in 2018.
After dazzling fans and rivals with his silky feet and contagious smile, the 37-year-old is set to embark on a farewell tour.
Ronaldinho won titles with Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, while he was involved in the last Brazil side to lift the World Cup trophy in 2002.
Brazil have failed to reach those lofty heights since, underwhelming in 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Here, we take a look at the three 'Rs' who were instrumental in creating history with Brazil and those who failed to lead a new generation.
Uma singela homenagem a esse craque que brilhou muito com a Amarelinha. Em seu último gol pela #SeleçãoBrasileira, Ronaldinho mostrou um pouco do talento que o consagrou! #GigantesPorNatureza pic.twitter.com/8lnDDogcU9— CBF Futebol (@CBF_Futebol) January 16, 2018
Brazil's production line provided another gem of a player. This time trickster Ronaldinho – also regarded as one of the best to have played the game and arguably the most skilful player to come out of the country. With his goofy grin and long hair, Ronaldinho's international career will always be remembered for his stunning long-range free-kick against England in the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup. The former Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona playmaker lobbed David Seaman from 40 yards en route to the final in South Korea and Japan – an iconic moment in World Cup history. Ronaldinho scored another goal and tallied two assists at the tournament, where he dazzled alongside Ronaldo and Rivaldo. He also captained Brazil to their second Confederations Cup title in 2005. His three goals at the tournament improved his tally to a record-equalling nine, joint all time with Cuauhtemoc Blanco. All up, the two-time FIFA World Cup of the Year and 2005 Ballon d'Or winner scored 33 goals in 97 appearances.
Before Cristiano came along, Ronaldo was the name on everyone's lips. With two World Cups, two Copa Americas, and a Confederations Cup plus three FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a pair of Ballons d'Or just to name a few, Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima was the face of football. A lethal and skilful striker – widely regarded to be one of the greatest of all time – he earned 98 caps for Brazil, scoring 62 goals. His international tally remains second only to Pele. It all started as a 17-year-old for Ronaldo, who was the youngest member of Brazil's squad that won the 1994 World Cup. Ronaldo did not play in the United States, but he was front and centre in France four years later, receiving the Golden Ball for player of the tournament as the South American giants reached the final. He suffered a fit before the decider against France, who upstaged the Selecao. The former Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan man had no such issues in 2002, scoring twice in the final and claiming the Golden Boot as he collected a second World Cup winners' medal with an unforgettable haircut. Ronaldo was unable to inspire Brazil to back-to-back titles in 2006, though he scored his 15th World Cup goal in Germany, which was a tournament record at the time.
Predominately a left footer, the languid Rivaldo was just as skilful as Ronaldo and Ronaldinho with his bending free-kicks, overhead kicks and long-range scoring. But the 74-time international, who added 34 goals, was definitely cleverer than his illustrious team-mates. While he helped Brazil reach the 1998 World Cup final, and starred alongside the pair as the South American giants triumphed four years later in South Korea and Japan, it was his on-field antics and an infamous moment in particular which will forever live in the memory of outraged Turkish players and fans. In a stunning display of play-acting – worthy of winning an Oscar – Rivaldo collapsed to the turf clutching his face, having been struck on the leg by a ball from Hakan Unsal, who was frustrated as the Brazil star waited next to the corner flag during the controversial 2-1 group-stage victory. Brazil went on to win a record fifth title – Rivaldo scoring five times.
The legend Brazil waited in vain for. Robinho was the next big thing in South American and world football after sealing a big-money move to Real Madrid in 2005, and while the talented winger racked up 100 international appearances, he never truly lived up to the hype. As Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka were phased out, Brazil's hopes rested on Robinho to add to their five World Cups and despite winning two Confederation Cup crowns and the Copa America, the former wonderkid's international career was filled with what-ifs due to injuries and inconsistent form.
He was labelled as the 'next Ronaldo' and looked set to carry the baton for Brazil but off-field issues destroyed a career that was destined for the top. With the football world at his feet, Adriano – a powerful and supremely talented striker – was scoring for fun for Inter, his 74 goals in all competitions helping the Italians to four Serie A titles. He enjoyed success with Brazil, winning the Copa America and Confederations Cup, while netting 29 times in 50 appearances from 2000-10. However, the death of his father sent Adriano's career on a downward spiral and it ended ultimately unfulfilled.
While Robinho and Adriano were unable to inspire a nation, things look remarkably different with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar leading a new generation to Russia 2018. The world's most expensive footballer – already Brazil's fourth leading goalscorer of all time with 53 in 83 games – has the Samba Boys dreaming of a sixth World Cup, where Tite's men are among the favourites to etch their names in history and restore the nation to former glories next year.
|BREAKING NEWS: Iniesta´s Vissel Kobe move confirmed|
|Low upbeat over Neuer´s World Cup hopes|
|´No secrets´ in playoffs, says Celtics rookie Tatum|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah takes his chances better than Ronaldo - Opta|
|Cubs, Yankees find very different ways to lose|
|Cole hoping to see Rooney in MLS amid DC United links|
|LeBron feeling worn down following Cavs loss|
|Rahm enjoys ´traditional golf courses´|
|Upbeat Spieth eyeing first win of 2018|
|Ovechkin leads Capitals into Stanley Cup Finals|
|Federer: Serena may be the greatest of all-time|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Gremio top group, River and Flamengo draw|
|Celtics rebound with key game-five win over Cavs|
|Warriors duo Thompson, Iguodala questionable for game five|
|Suarez: Iniesta hard to replace at Barcelona|
|Slipper suspended after positive cocaine test|
|Cardinals´ Ozuna absent from line-up because he overslept|
|Ancelotti a ´real coup´ for Napoli as Insigne thanks Sarri|
|Johnston ´amazed´ to see Liverpool in Champions League final|
|Fearless Loftus-Cheek embraces England pressure|
|Butland shocked by Hart absence|
|It´s a football club – Klopp on choosing Liverpool over Man United|
|Emery appointed after secret vote, says Arsenal chief|
|Klopp used Sevilla loss to inspire European title tilt - Henderson|
|Lineker, Stoichkov, Zico - the stars who blazed a J-League trail for Iniesta|
|Golf not fame drives McIlroy|
|De Villiers tributes led by Du Plessis, Kallis and Tendulkar|
|Buttler ´maturity´ is just what England need, says Vaughan|
|Fit-again Wawrinka returns to winning ways|
|Toulouse take giant step towards Ligue 1 survival|
|Jets will not punish players for incurring anthem-related fines|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton and Bottas looking to build momentum - Monaco GP in numbers|
|Steelers´ Antonio Brown advises Le´Veon Bell to ´show up´|
|Stephens out in Nuremberg, Stosur wins Strasbourg final rematch|
|Clippers extend coach Rivers´ contract|
|Ancelotti ´thrilled´ by Serie A return with Napoli|
|Carlo´s Angels? Napoli boss poses for unusual photograph|
|Brady will attend Patriots mini-camp despite OTA absence - Kraft|
|World Cup hero, Champions League master - the best of Andres Iniesta|
|Heading to my new home - Iniesta drops massive Vissel Kobe hint|
|Neymar fitter than Brazil expected ahead of World Cup|
|Jardim, Jokanovic reject Chelsea speculation|
|Knight Riders rally dumps out Royals in IPL eliminator|
|Salah, Mane, Firmino trio could blow Madrid away, says Redknapp|
|Napoli appoint Ancelotti after Sarri departure|
|NFL stars must stand for national anthem if on field|
|Mascherano laments Romero injury blow|
|´Mr 360´ De Villiers retires after going full circle|
|Ronaldo already a Real Madrid legend like Di Stefano - Nacho|
|Pep or Pepe? The Spanish footsteps Emery could follow|
|Arizona, New Orleans land Super Bowls as NFL draft heads to Nashville|
|Sarri thanked by Napoli chief De Laurentiis amid Ancelotti reports|
|You never know! - Vettel and Hamilton joke about potential Ferrari link-up|
|It´s a silly question - Carrick insists Pogba has Man Utd future|
|Yates protects Giro lead as Viviani takes fourth stage win|
|Ozil one of Arsenal´s biggest talents - Emery|
|Fastest ODI hundred, 278 not out - De Villiers´ best knocks|
|Deschamps: Rabiot has made a huge mistake|
|Arsenal players can challenge for titles, Emery insists|
|Salah can seal Ballon d´Or with Champions League win - Riise|
|I want Real Madrid to lose Champions League final - Alba|
|Leverkusen sign goalkeeper Hradecky|
|Arsenal job a ´dream come true´ for Emery|
|De Villiers hailed as a ´colossus´ after quitting Proteas|
|Benitez expects Lascelles to stay amid reported Liverpool interest|
|Saha tells Martial: Stay and work for Manchester United future|
|Atletico Madrid defender Savic undergoes hip surgery|
|Bess to make Lord´s debut against Pakistan|
|Vissel Kobe announce news conference amid Iniesta speculation|
|Yan Dhanda leaves Liverpool for Swansea|