After 18 years representing Portugal and a club career that included three triumphs in the Champions League, Ricardinho, the six-time Best Futsal Player in the World, has decided to call it a career at the age of 36.
Despite his longevity and impossible collection of individual and team awards, Ricardinho’s crowning glory came at the recently completed Futsal World Cup in Lithuania, where he captained his side to its first-ever world championship while claiming the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
One of futsal's all-time greats bids the game a fond farewellCongratulations on an incredible career, @ricardinho10ofi. And what better way to end it than the fairy tale you provided at this year's #FutsalWC? pic.twitter.com/nTn0siErxG
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 9, 2021
That Ricardinho was able to not only play but inspire his side to glory was something of a miracle.
“Six months ago I was on a hospital bed. It was the toughest surgery of my career,” Ricardinho revealed after the final. “I could barely kick a ball afterwards. I had to work harder than you could believe to get myself in the Portugal squad, to be able to help the team. Six months ago this moment seemed impossible. I was going to retire, I knew this was my last chance to win this trophy that I’ve dreamed about all my life. I knew that I would always regret not winning the World Cup. I’m so emotional, I’m so happy.”
Despite his status as one of the competition’s elder statesmen, Ricardinho still scored one of the tournament’s best goals.
Ricardinho made a magic trick!
— Valerio Scalabrelli (@riodevale) September 24, 2021
Nicknamed O Mágico (The Magician), his ability to score stunners at the highest level of international play was comically routine.
At Euro 2016 against Serbia, Ricardinho scored what stands as one of the greatest individual goals in futsal history.
What's your favourite futsal goal of all time? ⚽️Ours has to be Ricardinho's goal vs. Serbia during @UEFAFutsal Euro 2016 in Belgrade.
The composure and confidence to perform such a skill on the biggest stage is just jaw-dropping... pic.twitter.com/dtJXYUkk0t
— London Baku United Futsal Club (@BakuFutsal) November 5, 2019
At Euro 2016 he scored another banger, this one against Spain…
And at Euro 2018 he produced this rabona against Romania…
Ricardinho was not a man you’d ever want to mark, but he could now be showing up in a rec league near you.