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The striker made a cameo appearance in the game from the 30th minute until halftime, when he was honored in a ceremony that recognized his contribution to the ‘Selecao’.
Brazil won the match _ its last before the Copa America _ 1-0, with Fred scoring in the first half.
The 34-year-old Ronaldo retired in February after an 18-year career. The three-time FIFA Player of the Year represented Brazil in four World Cups _ winning two of them _ and remains the competition’s all-time leading scorer with 15 goals.
Players from both teams lined up near the sideline and applauded Ronaldo as he left the field at halftime. Visibly moved, he put the Brazilian flag on his back, and with the ball in his hand, went around saluting the fans that packed the Pacaembu stadium. There were banners remembering the matches in which he scored each of his 15 World Cup goals.
“Thank you for all that you have done for me throughout my career,” Ronaldo said, addressing the supporters from the pitch. “Thank you for having accepted me the way I am, for having cried when I cried and for having smiled when I smiled.”
Fans loudly chanted the striker’s name as he went into the locker rooms one last time.
“There is only one Ronaldo,” read another.
Fred opened the scoring from close range in the 20th minute after a pass by Neymar, then celebrated with his index finger raised, mimicking Ronaldo’s trademark goal celebration.
The crowd cheered loudly every time he touched the ball, and he nearly scored in the 35th after Neymar found him free from any markers in front of the net but he was unable to finish from close range.
He missed another good chance in the 40th, scooping a shot from near the penalty spot and sending it way over the crossbar. Neymar set up Ronaldo again in the 43rd, but his low shot was saved.
“I had three chances, but in an ironic twist of fate I couldn’t score in my final match,” Ronaldo told fans. “It would have been a small retribution for all that you have done for me.”
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