Former Liverpool and Brazil legendary international defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva forced into early retirement with heart condition..

2023-03-18 17:02

Former Liverpool and Brazil legendary international defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva forced into early retirement with heart condition..

Former Liverpool and Brazil legendary international defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva has regretfully announced through his personal official Instagram social media account on Friday that he was forced into early retirement due to heart conditions, bringing an end to his 18 years of glorious professional football career.

Lucas wrote emotionally in a handwritten letter that: "The day when I said goodbye to the pitch has finally came. I have to say that it took a lot of courage to make this decision, but when I look back on what happened in my past career, I can only feel grateful for the career I have built over the years.

At the age of 14, I left my hometown like other youngsters to pursue my dream of becoming a footballer. At the age of 16, I joined Grêmio. I felt the taste of playing for a big club and felt that my dream was closer to realizing it.

"At the age of 18, my dream finally came true and I was promoted to Campeonato Brasileiro Série A in an unforgettable way!"

"The following year, in that year, I had the best moment of my career when I made my debut for the Brazil national team."

"I moved to Liverpool in 2007. This place has become a part of my life. I have been here for 10 years. I can proudly say that today's Liverpool is my home! Together with my family, I became a British citizen and I was a native Liverpudlian. Then, fate and hope brought me to the most incredible city in Europe, Rome. With all its charm and Lazio's passionate fans, I managed to write my name into the history of the club forever. 5 years have passed, but as we say in Rome, Forza, Lazio forever!"

"Later, I picked up that golden key to complete the one thing that was missing before the end of my football career, and that was to return to the club I loved the most. I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute to the club again after my return ( Yes, it is an honor to wear the Grêmio jersey, no matter what league you're playing in)."

"Obviously, I could write the stories about what I've been through at this club and over 30 years of experince as a professional footballer into a book, but I would like to hereby thank everyone who has helped me on this journey. So many people in my journey have been so important to me that I have been able to build a successful career because of them, but I don’t want to list them all one by one.”

"My family, they have always been my strongest backing, gave me a lot of support, always believed in me and realized this dream with me; thanks to the managers, coaches, teammates and my friends who have always supported me unconditionally as well a the fans who have been with me all along!"

"Thank you so much football! Thank you to the fans all over the world! I am sure you will continue to cheer for the new chapter of my life that is about to start. Sending you all with my big hugs, Lucas Leiva."

The 36-year-old Lucas was born on January 9, 1987 in Dorados, Brazil. He is of Italian descent and is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and English. Lucas joined the Grêmio youth academy in 2002 when he was only 15 years old, and it was here that he got the opportunity to start his glorious career. Lucas made his first-team debut in October 2005 and immediately won the annual Brazilian Golden Globe Award from the famous Brazilian monthly sports magazine Placar. In a short period of one and a half years, he has helped the club won 1 Campeonato Brasileiro Série B and 1 Campeonato Gaucho.

In the summer of 2007, appreciated by the legendary Spanish head coach Rafael Benítez, Lucas moved to Liverpool and started his 15-year career in Europe. Lucas, who was struggling at the Reds in his early career, gradually transformed into Liverpool's key player since January 2008. After Alonso and Mascherano left the club one after another, Lucas' status in the team drastically increased and his performances has also become more prominent. 

In the 10 years he played for Liverpool, Lucas played 346 times for the Premier League giants in all competitions, scored 7 goals, and won the English League Cup with the club 10 years ago.

In the summer of 2017, Lucas ended his 10-year career at Anfield by moving to Lazio for £5 million. 

After coming to Rome, Lucas' performance did not regress, but became better and better. During the 5 years he played for Lazio, Lucas won 1 Coppa Italia and 2 Supercoppa Italaiana for the Serie A side.

After his contract expired last summer, Lucas returned to Grêmio as a free agent, and immediately helped the Imortal Tricolor win the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B again. However, in a twist of fate, Lucas managed to reunite with former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suárez at the beginning of the year, but suffered a heart attack shortly after Suárez joined.

In the short one and a half years since he returned to Grêmio, Lucas played 18 times for this newly promoted Campeonato Brasileiro Série A side in all competitions and scored 3 goals.

Internationally, Lucas played 24 times for Brazil from 2007 to 2013 and won a Olympic bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the Brazilian men's national Olympic team.