Deco starts last World Cup with Portugal

After an international career spent setting up goals for others

rather than scoring himself, Portugal midfielder Deco prepared for

the start of his last World Cup by talking more about others than

himself.

The 32-year-old Deco will retire from Portugal at the end of the

World Cup, where the team will face Ivory Coast first in Tuesday’s

Group G opener for both clubs, and later North Korea and the

country of his birth, Brazil.

“I am not even thinking of that at this moment,” Deco said

Monday of his retirement plans. “That doesn’t even cross my mind.

It is the moment that I am living for.”

Deco has scored five goals in 74 games for Portugal since 2003

and is expected to start Tuesday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in a

supporting role to Cristiano Ronaldo, who is scoreless in his last

eight matches for Portugal.

Injuries were a problem for the Real Madrid winger during

qualifying, and he hasn’t scored for the national team since a 1-0

win over Finland in February 2009. He had 26 goals for Real Madrid

this season.

“We are hoping to see these goals coming,” Deco said. “It is

important that he scores, they will help us to go through to the

next phase.”

Deco, whose full name is Anderson Luis de Souza, had one goal at

the last World Cup, when Portugal made it through to the

semifinals. He received Portuguese citizenship in 2002 after

completing six years of residency in the European country.

On Monday, he was asked about the uncertain status of his

Chelsea teammate, striker Didier Drogba, for Ivory Coast in

Tuesday’s match. Drogba remains a doubtful starter after breaking

his right arm in a friendly against Japan on June 4.

“I did not speak with Didier and I do not know if he will

play,” Deco said. “I hope so because he is a friend of mine. If

he played, it would be good for the game.”

Deco was also asked about the injury status of teammate Nani,

who told television stations in Lisbon that he could be recovered

from a shoulder injury “in a week.”

That would make the Manchester United midfielder, originally

announced as out of the tournament, eligible to play for Portugal

against Brazil on June 25 in Durban, the teams’ final group

game.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Deco said. “What I heard

is that he broke his shoulder and that it would be difficult for

him to be able to play. But as players we don’t have that

information.”