RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Global football icon Ronaldo was on Thursday officially unveiled as the ambassador for the organising committee of the 2014 World Cup, to be hosted by his native Brazil.
Ricardo Teixeira, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the WC2014 organising committee, said it was now time for the whole country to get behind what he hopes will be the “best ever World Cup” in history.
“As of now, we want everyone to get behind this project to help create the best ever World Cup and that is why we have called on the athlete who best symbolises the cream of Brazilian sport,” Teixeira told reporters.
Ronaldo, a two-time Ballon d’Or winner, said he was proud to take up a role which, in the past, has been performed by Michel Platini of France and Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer, ahead of the 1998 and 2006 World Cups respectively.
“I’m really proud and will give my best to help create the best World Cup there has ever been,” said Ronaldo, a three-time FIFA World Player of the Year whose goalscoring genius led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title.
The 34-year-old, whose full name is Ronaldo Nazario de Lima, is widely regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation.
He brought his storied but injury-hit career to an end in February, when he also announced he had been suffering from a thyroid problem that made it difficult to control his weight.
While in Europe he played for PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan, as well as Cruzeiro and Corinthians in Brazil.
During his career Ronaldo notably won two World Cup trophies, in 1994 and 2002, and was twice voted the Ballon d’Or winner, in 1997 and 2002.