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How Tolima Retired Ronaldo

Posted by John Hickey on


Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of greatest to ever play the game, and his resumé speaks for itself. However, "O Fenomeno" didn't end his career in a glamourous fashion.

After decades of glory for the national team and European clubs, in 2009 Ronaldo returned to Brazil to play for Corinthians. His first couple of seasons great, many goals scored and a few trophies lifted, and in 2011 the club had returned to the Copa Libertadores qualifying for the preliminary round just before the group stages. The draw was favorable, they would face Tolima from Colombia, a small team with some national relevance but almost none internationally.

Corinthians, who also had Roberto Carlos on the left and Tite as their coach, didn't seem to take Tolima's threat too seriously. They benched a few starters in the first leg in Brazil and the match ended in 0-0. Even from the point of view of the local press Corinthians just had to put in a little more effort in the second leg to go through.

The reality was completely different, a packed stadium in Ibague witnessed history and Tolima would triumph 2-0. A few days after the match, despite having more time in his contract, Ronaldo famously announced his retirement from the sport. A stellar career, with 2 World Cup titles, came to an unexpected end thanks to Club Deportes Tolima.


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