On the eve of his 36th birthday, ex-Portugal international Deco has announced retirement from professional footballing career.

Deco is popular for his time with Porto, Barcelona and Chelsea, enjoying a distinguished 17-year career in the sport.

The 36-year-old started his senior career with Brazilian side Salgueiros, before being granted a move to European football when he joined Porto in 1999.

In 2004, Deco won the Champions League trophy with Porto under Jose Mourinho and was later signed by Spanish giants FC Barcelona in July of the same year.

The attacking midfielder scored 13 goals in 113 league appearances for Barcelona before he joined Chelsea.

"With great sadness and regret I announce the end of my career as a professional athlete," he told AS.

"The last minutes with Fluminense on Wednesday were my last of my 17 years as a footballer.

"I would have loved to continue until the end of the Brasileiro and help the team get back in the Libertadores but my body wouldn't let me.

"I'm very grateful for all the trust and affection."

Deco was awarded the UEFA Footballer of the Year for 2003-04 season after playing a starring role for Porto on their path to European glory. He was also named as UEFA Best Midfielder in 2003-04 and later in 2005-06.

Deco ended his glittering footballing career of 17 years with Fluminense.

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