Pinto ends his golden career

Former Portuguese international Joao Pinto, one of the so-called golden generation, brought down the curtain on a career dating over 20 years here on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old - who along with the likes of Luis Figo, Pauleta, Rui Costa and Fernando Couto formed the backbone of the side that won the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 1989 and 1991 - said he had received several offers but had decided it was better to retire.

"I would just like to," said Pinto, who won the last of his 81 caps in 2002.

"It is impossible to cite everybody, but I want to thank my fellow footballers, those I played with and against," added Pinto, who terminated his contract with Sporting Braga this February.

Pinto, whose eldest son Tiago is set to make his first division debut with newly-promoted Trofense, started his career with Boavista but went on to have long spells with Benfica and Sporting Lisbon - winning the national title with the former in 1994 and the latter in 2002.

"In spite of receiving some offers ... I have decided to bring my playing career to an end, because I believe that the moment has come.

"I am going to be 37 and my physical and mental ability is not what it once was."

As for what the future held for him, Pinto said he had not yet made up his mind, though, he will continue in his role as vice-president of the professional footballers union.