Former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto to retire at end of year

Sao Paulo, Feb 12 (IANS) Former Brazil international midfielder Ze Roberto has announced he will end his 23-year professional career in December.

The Palmeiras captain, who will turn 42 in July, during a press conference here on Thursday revealed his wish to prioritise family, reports Xinhua.

“I want to enjoy next year by spending more time with my family. I have a 16-year-old son who I’d like to see more because he wants to pursue university studies abroad,” he said.

Roberto’s career has included spells at Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, among other top clubs. He has been capped 84 times for Brazil and was part of the Selecao’s 1998 and 2006 World Cup squads.

Having entered the third decade of his professional career, Roberto admitted his body can no longer cope with the rigors of Brazil’s demanding domestic schedule.

“This year I’m really motivated to give my all in my last year,” he said.

“I have already agreed with the coaching staff that I won’t be available for all our matches this year. I’m not a machine. Not even batman would cope with the Brazilian football calendar.”

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