Lucas Leiva has announced his retirement from playing due to heart problems.
The former Liverpool and Lazio midfielder was forced to pull out of training at Brazil’s Grêmio in December after it was discovered during a routine check-up.
After spending some time evaluating and further testing, Lucas confirmed at Friday’s press conference that he had decided to cut his playing days short.
“Firstly, I would like to thank Gremio for all the support during these three months,” Lucas said with tears in his eyes. “Today I announce my retirement.
“It was a difficult period, I think this is the first time I cry because of this case. But I can only thank you. I end up where I want to, not how I want to. But I am sure that a new cycle will begin.
“I had a big hope that everything could change, but it didn’t happen. My health comes first.”
Obrigado por tudo, @LukasLeiva87 . pic.twitter.com/8FbpPEI2UU
— Gremio FBPA (@Gremio) March 17, 2023
Lucas was joined by Gremio president Alberto Guerra, vice president Paulo Caleffi, coach Renato Portaluppi and teammate Pedro Jeromel, and doctors Marcio Dornelles and Paulo Rabaldo.
Dr. Dornelles said the Brazilian’s diagnosis was myocardial scarring. Further testing showed no change after three months away from football, and as a result, Lucas was advised to retire.
Lucas made 337 appearances in a 10-year spell with Liverpool, where he became a fan favorite at Anfield despite a difficult start before joining Serie A giants Lazio in 2017.
After leaving Italy at the end of last season, the former Brazil international rejoined Gremio, the club where he started his career.
Grêmio returned to Brazil’s top tier in 2022 with a Serie B runner-up, with Lucas scoring a goal in a 3-0 win over Nautico that sealed him.