He said: "With tears in my eyes today I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player.
"Today I communicate to all my fans in the world, my history as a player came to the end. Just I have to thank the lovely career I have built over these years."
Rivaldo started his professional career with Santa Cruz in 1991, but it was with Palmeiras three years later that he really started to catch the eye.
After helping the club clinch the league title in 1994, he headed to Europe and joined Deportivo La Coruna in 1996 before switching to Barca the following year.
Two league titles and a Copa del Rey crown were swiftly collected in his spell in Catalonia, along with numerous personal and international accolades.
As well as being named the world's best and Spain's player of the year in 1999, he tasted Copa America glory with Brazil.
He signed for AC Milan in 2002 and went on to win the Champions League and Coppa Italia.
Further trophy-laden stints with Greek side Olympiacos and Uzbek outfit Bunyodkor followed before he returned to his homeland, where he remained - apart for a 2012 spell in Angola with Kabuscorp - until hanging up his boots.
The 2002 World Cup winner said he hoped his career path would prove inspirational to others.
He continued: "There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointments, but were much greater joys, achievements, growth, change.
"Sometimes teaching, other learning, but never lost my focus - always with dedication, determination and direction of God.
"In this long journey, many people passed through my life - some for a period, other friends who remain until now. I built my career upon a miracle - leaving Paulista, with no financial resources, the well wishes of only my family, discredited by doctors and trainers - and seeing a distant dream come true.
"With persistence, dedication and especially with the hand of God, I came to be recognised as the best player in the world, a world champion, among many other important titles in the history of football.
"Among trophies, medals, awards and titles, in a land where everything is consumed, here I leave a story, perhaps an example, but surely a testimony that is worth believing and fighting."