Former Brazil, Liverpool and Lazio midfielder Lucas Leiva retired on Friday at age 36 after a heart condition was found during regular medical examinations.
He made the announcement in a news conference at Gremio, the Brazilian club where his professional playing career has ended, and where it started in 2005.
Leiva played for Liverpool from 2007-17, winning the English League Cup in 2012. He joined Lazio for five seasons and added the Italian Cup in 2019. The defensive midfielder returned to Gremio last year.
He played 24 matches for the national team from 2007-13.
“I am finishing where I would like to, but not in the way I would like to,” said Leiva, who was surrounded by Gremio executives and coaching staff. “I was very hopeful I could reverse this, but it didn’t happen. My health comes first.”
Gremio doctor Márcio Dornelles said Leiva stopped working at the club three months ago when the first results came. Recent examinations did not show any improvement in his condition.
“We finished those exams yesterday, and after we evaluated his fibrosis and the risks around that issue we told Lucas he should not continue high-performance activities,” Dornelles said.
Leiva said on Instagram he did not know what was next for him, but called Liverpool his home.
“I am a Scouser,” he said. “Thanks to all fans around the world, I am sure you will continue to cheer for me in this new phase in my life.”