From Academic Kids

This article is about the football player. You may be looking for Art Deco.

Anderson Luiz de Sousa, born 27 August 1977 in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil is a professional footballer widely known as Deco.

Missing image
Deco, Portuguese Football player

Arrival in Europe

Deco arrived to Portugal in 1997 at the age of 19 from Brazilian club Corinthians Alagoano to play for Lisbon side SL Benfica, but despite good showings in training and some internal opposition, Benfica's poor financial condition did not allow the side to keep the player, and he was released to second division side Alverca. He played there for a season before being traded to Oporto side Salgueiros in the 98-99 season, playing 12 games and scoring two goals by December. His performances caught the eye of FC Porto's staff, and during the winter transfer window he was sold to Porto, where he played six more games that season.

Porto Years

His early years at Porto showed him to be a very talented, yet truculent "numéro dix" (number 10), registering as many cards as assists and goals scored. His unreliable behaviour proved costly to Porto in games where he was either sent off or wasn't "tuned in" with the game. Nevertheless, he was Porto's key figure during the three-year drought in the early 2000s, and was linked with a move to Spanish giants FC Barcelona.


Under the guidance of José Mourinho, Deco was given the role of leading an ambitious Porto team. A key figure in the 2002-03 season, he scored 10 goals in 30 games, but nevertheless got 17 yellow cards and one red card, becoming one of the key players in the 2003 UEFA Cup win. The following year Deco helped Porto recapture the title, and led the Champions League in assists and fouls suffered, in a run that ended with a 3-0 victory over AS Monaco in the Champions League final, where he scored the second goal. His final season at Porto earned him UEFA's MVP (Most Valuable Player) award, as well as the award for the best midfielder in the competition.

National Team

Never called to the 'Escrete' (Brazilian national team), Deco was mentioned several times in the media as an option for the Portuguese national team. In 2002, having completed six years of Portuguese residence, he received his Portuguese citizenship. After many months of public discussion which split Portuguese public opinion, and despite the opposition of a large number of FC Porto rivals' supporters, he was called up for the Portugal-Brazil friendly, played at the Estádio das Antas, on 29 March 2003. He played only eight minutes in his debut, but in that time he managed to score the free kick that stunned Brazil, leading to a 2-1 win for Portugal. This was Portugal's first win over Brazil since the 1966 World Cup. Since that game, he has been a regular in the national team, despite apparent criticism by players such as Luis Figo.

FC Barcelona

On 17 June 2004, Deco told a Portuguese radio station that he would almost certainly join English side Chelsea (then coached by Mourinho) following Euro 2004. He said that a transfer deal between FC Porto and Chelsea had been all but finalized, and that the only remaining steps were passing a physical examination and signing a formal contract with Chelsea.

However, on 26 June 2004 he told the Portuguese sports daily O Jogo that he would rather move to FC Barcelona than follow Mourinho, his former coach, to Chelsea. While FC Bayern München gave up on Deco after the Chelsea deal seemed to have been concluded, it was still uncertain whether the German side would make a new bid. The best offer at that time was 21M from Barça, but this figure was still 4M short of the request by Porto's board. Portuguese newspapers then reported that Barça would try to offer Portuguese winger Ricardo Quaresma in part-exchange in order to ease the deal.

Finally, a deal was achieved between FC Porto and Barcelona the day after the Euro 2004 final. Barça agreed on a 15M fee, plus the complete rights of Ricardo Quaresma. Deco signed a four year deal with the Catalan side on 6 July 2004.

In Barcelona some suggested Deco would be completely eclipsed by Brazilian star Ronaldinho (a duo that according to Luiz Felipe Scolari "can make rain fall"), and although he played more on the midfield than on attacking roles (taking advantage of his tackling ability, which is above-average for a attacking midfielder), he continued to perform exemplarily. In December 2004, he came second in France Football's Ballon D'Or 2004 award, losing to Andriy Shevchenko and beating Ronaldinho by six votes.

In 14 May 2005, Deco played in the draw against Levante UD, which gave Barcelona their 17th Liga title. In that same season his former FC Porto team-mates Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and José Mourinho became English champions at Chelsea. Perhaps ironially, it was Chelsea who knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League earlier that pl:Anderson Luis de Souza pt:Anderson Luiz de Sousa


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