FRANKIE DETTORI said he decided to quit on a high next year because he doesn’t want to be ‘on the bench like Ronaldo’.
The world’s best jockey said seeing the sight of the legendary footballer be used as a sub at his final World Cup convinced now was the time to bid farewell.
Dettori, 52, confirmed next season will be his last.
The sport will lose an icon and arguably its most marketable asset.
But he said seeing Ronaldo, 37, leave the pitch in tears after coming on as a second-half sub in the quarter-final defeat to Morocco convinced him no one can go on forever.
And he believes next year will give him the best chance to go out at the top and not ‘on the bench’.
Dettori told Nick Luck: “I want to finish my career when I’m still playing on the field not put on the bench, a classic example like Ronaldo last week.
“I still have good horses to ride, I still feel good. I thought, ‘yeah, let’s call it a day next year’.”
Dettori also said loyal wife Catherine, mother of his five children, was pleased with his decision.
The jockey had dinner with his family earlier this month ahead of him starting his final year at Santa Anita in California on Boxing Day.
Football-mad Italian Dettori said his parents and his wife were the first people he chose to tell of his retirement.
And he was slightly taken aback by how supportive they were.
He said: “They were quite pleased! I wish they weren’t actually – it would have given me more options to carry on!
“But dad said he was 100 per cent behind me.
“I had to tell John Gosden, he was the first one, then some members of staff and other people, so the news was leaking out.
“I am 52, I thought now it’s approriate I can tell everyone next year is my last.
“I still physically feel very good. I want to finish at the top, on a high, I want to be good enough to compete to win every one.
“It was a very difficult decision because my heart wants to carry on forever but my brain tells me, ‘if you’re going to do this properly then you’ve got to pick one year, next year is the right one’.
“I can give it one last good go.
“And give the public what they want to see.”
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