Lucas Leiva has announced the end of his playing career after undergoing tests for a heart problem.
The former Liverpool and Lazio midfielder was forced to withdraw from training at Brazilian club Gremio in December after the discovery was made during a routine screening.
After spending some time to evaluate and undergo further tests, Lucas confirmed at a press conference on Friday that he has decided to call time on his playing days.
“Firstly I would like to thank Gremio for all the support in these three months,” a tearful Lucas said. “Today, I am announcing my retirement.
“It’s been a difficult period, I think this is the first time I’ve cried over this case. 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 it could reverse, but it was not the case. My health comes first.”
Obrigado por tudo, @LucasLeiva87 . pic.twitter.com/8FbpPEI2UU
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) March 17, 2023
Lucas was joined by Gremio president Alberto Guerra, vice president Paulo Caleffi, coach Renato Portaluppi and team-mate Pedro Geromel, as well as doctors Marcio Dornelles and Paulo Rabaldo.
Dr Dornelles revealed that the Brazilian’s diagnosis was scarring in the myocardium. Further testing showed no change after three months away from football activity, and as a result, it was recommended that Lucas end his career.
Lucas made 337 appearances during a 10-year spell with Liverpool where he became a fan favourite 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 re-joined Gremio – the club where he began his career.
Gremio won promotion back to Brazil’s top tier in 2022 after finishing second in Serie B, with Lucas scoring in the 3-0 win over Nautico that clinched it.