Fluminense’s Deco retires, ending 17-year career
Former Portugal and Chelsea playmaker Deco retired from football
Monday after a 17-year career because of his failure to overcome a
series of recent muscle injuries.
The 35-year-old said that he wished he could play until his
contract with Brazilian club Fluminense expired at the end of the
year but realized it wouldn’t be possible to continue because of
”I wished I could help Fluminense a lot more, but my body
didn’t let me do it,” he said in a statement.
The talented midfielder played in two World Cups and two
European Championships with Portugal. He won the Champions League
with FC Porto in 2004 and with Barcelona in 2006.
The retirement comes before a hearing at Brazil’s sports
tribunal for failing a doping test earlier this year. Deco tested
positive for a diuretic which can help hide performance-enhancing
substances. The playmaker has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and
said the result likely stemmed from contaminated vitamins. He faced
a suspension of up to two years in the trial originally scheduled
Deco had four muscle injuries this year alone and played only a
few times throughout the season. He picked up his latest ailment in
a Brazilian Cup match at the Maracana Stadium last week. He was
returning to action after missing several games but was injured
just moments after entering the field late in the second half.
”It’s with a lot of sadness that I announce the end of my
career as a professional athlete,” he said. ”The last minutes I
played Wednesday with Fluminense were the last of my 17 years on
the field as a football player. I tried my hardest to try to
continue playing until the end of the year. My muscles can’t take
it anymore. I can’t keep going.”
Deco played only 14 matches this year because of the injuries –
three to his right thigh and one to his left.
Deco, who will turn 36 on Tuesday, helped Fluminense win the
Brazilian league in 2010 and 2012. He also won the Rio de Janeiro
championship last year.
The left-footed midfielder played a total of 686 matches with
eight clubs and the Portuguese national team. He scored 116 goals
and won 23 titles, including 11 with FC Porto, where he played from
1999-2004. He left Portugal to play with Barcelona, where he twice
won the Spanish league. Chelsea was his last club in Europe. He
left the team in 2010 after winning the Premier League that
Deco, whose full name is Anderson Luis de Souza, left Brazil
early in his career after not being able to secure a place on some
of the country’s top teams. He decided to seek Portuguese
citizenship after realizing he was not going to earn a place in
Brazil’s national team. He quickly became a regular with Portugal
and helped it reach the final of the 2004 Euros and the
quarterfinal four years later.
Deco began his career with Corinthians in August 1996. He did
not disclose any future plans.
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