Former Liverpool midfielder and cult hero Lucas Leiva has announced his early retirement due to a heart condition.
The 36-year-old was in tears as he held a press conference on Friday afternoon to confirm the news, having been taken out of pre-season for the first time last December.
It is a sad end to the career of Lucas, who made 346 appearances for Liverpool between 2007 and 2017, after returning to his boyhood club, Gremio, last summer.
Unfortunately, pre-season testing with the Brazilian club revealed an abnormality in his heart rate, described as a “change in heart rhythm”.
The player was ordered to stay away from vigorous physical activity for a period of two to three months, including Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson sending their former teammate their best wishes.
Now the sad news has been confirmed that he has been forced to take early retirement.
Lucas Leiva announces his retirement, impossible not to get emotional?
Cheers and thanks for everything, LUCAS! pic.twitter.com/20QkHR7wsW
— ? ? ? ? ? ¹ ? ? ³ (@bernapoa2) March 17, 2023
Broadcast of the press conference, a Brazilian news outlet described the emotional scenes and said: “Lucas Leiva was very emotional when he announced his retirement due to heart problems. I don’t know about you, but the intern here cried with him.”
Lucas retires from football after 586 appearances for his three clubs – Gremio, Liverpool and Lazio – plus 22 international appearances for Brazil.