Lucas Leiva forced to retire due to heart condition with tearful ex-Liverpool man insisting 'health comes first'
- Lucas says tearful farewell
- Calls time on playing career
- Health reason have forced an early retirement
WHAT HAPPENED? Lucas has been forced to hang up his boots at the age of 36 due to a heart condition. The former Liverpool man was withdrawn from pre-season training with Gremio in December after routine scans revealed a possible issue. The midfielder has now appeared at a press conference and was visibly emotional as he confirmed he has been forced to retire prematurely.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "First I would like to thank Grêmio for all the support in these three months. Today I am announcing my retirement. It's been a difficult period, I think this is the first time I've cried over this," he told reporters. "But I can only thank you. I'm ending where I'd like, not the way I'd like. But I'm sure a new cycle will begin. I had a lot of hope that this could be reversed, but it was not the case. My health comes first."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lucas has also posted an emotional farewell to fans on Instagram where he spoke of his pride at playing for Gremio, Liverpool and Lazio as well as the Brazil national team. The midfielder won the League Cup and the Coppa Italia during his time in Europe and earned 24 caps for the Selecao.
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Lucas is yet to confirm his next move but did say he would like to stay in football. The Brazilian added he would now take some time out to "find something that's right for everyone."