Former Chelsea midfielder Deco announces retirement

The former Barcelona and Chelsea playmaker Deco has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect following an almost 20-year career, Sky Sports has reported.

His decision comes after he sustained a hamstring injury, and in a statement, he thanked his club, Brazilian side Fluminense. It read: “I am sadly informing that my career as a professional player is over. The last minutes for Fluminense on Wednesday were the last ones in my 17-year career as a footballer.

I want to thank Fluminense and everyone who worked with me in the last three years for giving me the opportunity to play in Brazilian football; I could win two Brazilian league titles and a state league one. I was very happy at the club, I would like to have helped more but my body doesn’t allow it.

During an impressive career, the 36-year-old won league titles in Portugal and Spain, along with gaining Champions League winners’ medals with FC Porto in 2004, and with Barcelona in 2006. He also earned 75 caps for the Portuguese national team, helping them reach the final of Euro 2004, and the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

After beginning his career in South America, he was signed by Porto in 1999, and went on to star under Jose Mourinho before leaving for Barcelona following their European triumph over Barcelona. After four successful years at the Nou Camp, he was brought to Chelsea by his ex-Portugal boss Luiz Felipe Scolari in 2008.

Despite scoring in his opening two Chelsea appearances, Deco endured a turbulent spell during his time at Stamford Bridge, only making sporadic appearances in his second season as Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2010. He moved to Fluminense in the summer of that year.

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