Deco calls time on decorated career
© AFP

Deco, the former Barcelona, Porto and Chelsea midfielder, has cited injury as his decision to retire from football at the age of 35.

The Brazilian-born former Portuguese international hung up his boots on Monday with a clutch of titles to his name, including the UEFA Champions League with Porto in 2004 and again two years later with Barcelona.

"With a lot of sadness and hurt I am announcing the end of my professional career," said Deco, who has had a frustrating final season with a series of health problems for Brazilian club Fluminense.

Deco, who had a two-year spell with Chelsea from 2008, returned to his homeland in 2010 where he picked up two national league titles with Fluminense.

"I've been really happy during this time, I wanted to help Fluminense more but my body won't allow that, my muscles can no longer put up (with the demands of professional football)," he said.

As well as his two European crowns Deco also picked up a UEFA Cup in 2003, three Portuguese league titles, two Spanish La Liga titles with Barça and the 2009/10 English Premier League title and two FA Cups with Chelsea.

On the international stage, he helped his adopted country reach the final of Euro 2004 on home soil.