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The 35-year-old says his body will not let him continue his career, having represented the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Porto over the last 17 years

Former Barcelona and Chelsea star Deco has announced his retirement from football on the eve of his 36th birthday.

The ex-Portugal international began his career with Salgueiros in his native Brazil before winning a move to Porto in 1999, becoming a naturalised citizen of his adopted country in the process.

Following the club's Champions League triumph in 2004, he left the Primeira Liga for Barcelona, spending four years at Camp Nou before moving to Stamford Bridge for two seasons.

He left European football for good in 2010, returning to Brazil with Fluminense, and has decided to call it a day after three years in South America.

"With great sadness and regret I announce the end of my career as a professional athlete," he is quoted as saying by 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."

The attacking midfielder won 75 caps for Portugal over the course of a seven-year international career, representing them in two European Championships and two World Cups.

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