Former Portugal midfielder Deco announced his retirement on Monday, one day short of his 36th birthday, after a frustrating sequence of injuries. "I'd like to continue until the end of the Brazilian championship but I'm not up to it," the former Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea player, who now plays for Brazilian champions Fluminense, said in a statement.
"I would have liked to have helped Fluminense more than I did, but my body didn't let me," added Deco, whose last appearance was against Goias last Wednesday.
Brazilian-born Deco was raised at Corinthians and moved to Portugal in 1997 before he had made an impact in his own country. He initially joined Alverca but his career took off after moving to Porto in 1998. He spent six years at the club, winning the Champions League in 2004, then moved to Barcelona for four seasons and Chelsea for two before returning to Brazil three years ago.
Deco, whose full name is Anderson Luis de Souza, obtained Portuguese citizenship and was picked for the first time by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, also a Brazilian, in 2003 amid some controversy. By chance, his debut was against Brazil in a friendly when he scored from a free kick in a 2-1 win. He went on to play for Portugal in two World Cups and two European championship tournaments.
(Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Writing by Brian Homewood Editing by John Mehaffey)