Tearful Lucas Leiva announces his retirement from professional football, with the 36-year-old former Liverpool midfielder forced out of the game due to a heart condition
- Lucas Leiva has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36
- It follows advice given to the former Liverpool man about a hear condition
- The midfielder said he was ‘ending where I’d like, not the way I’d like’
Lucas Leiva has retired from professional football due to a heart condition at the age of 36.
The former Liverpool midfielder made the announcement in a tearful press conference on Friday, where he said the decision came because ‘health comes first’.
It comes after Leiva was given medical advice to hang up his boots following a follow-up tests on a problem initially noticed during pre-season with his boyhood club Gremio in December.
‘It’s been a difficult period,’ he told when addressing the media on Friday, ‘I think this is the first time I’ve cried over this case,’ Lucas said.
‘But I can only thank you. I’m ending where I’d like, not the way I’d like. I’m sure a new cycle will begin. I had a lot of hope that it could reverse, but it was not the case. My health comes first.’
Lucas Leiva has been forced to retire from professional football at the age of 36 due to a heart condition
The Brazil international played 247 premier League games in 10 years at Liverpool
His retirement comes at his boyhood club Gremio, where he returned last summer after five years at Lazio
The announcement ends a storied career for Leiva, who made 247 Premier League appearances for Liverpool during his 10 year-spell at the Merseyside club, scoring just one goal.
He was sold to Serie A giants Lazio in 2017 for £5million and played in Rome until the expiry of his contract in the summer.
He then signed for his boyhood club, Gremio. Lucas played for Gremio between 2005 and 2007, before making the move to Liverpool aged 20.
Club president Alberto Guerra also spoke after the midfielder’s announcement, as he added: ‘I had prepared a beautiful speech, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to say it all.
‘I wanted to congratulate you on a successful career. I’m very happy that you’re going to go on with a normal life. I want to say on behalf of all the Gremistas that few have represented us like you.
‘That’s why so many people are moved by this moment. You are a great leader in the locker room that we all learned to respect.’
Doctor Marcio Dornelles said Leiva has scarring in the myocardium (the middle of his heart) and advised him that ‘continuing with high-performance activities could post serious health risks’.
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