Liverpool hero Lucas Leiva forced to retire at 36 due to heart disease
Former Liverpool and Lazio midfielder Lucas Leiva announced his retirement from football on Friday due to heart disease, ending his 17-year professional career.
The 36-year-old has played nearly 600 games in his club career, the majority in Europe having signed for Liverpool in 2007, before joining Italy’s Serie A in 2017, where he played five seasons with Lazio.
Leiva returned to his boyhood club Gremio last summer, making 17 appearances and scoring three goals for the Brazilian side before being sidelined in December when he was diagnosed with a heart condition after routine tests.
“I would like to thank Gremio for all the support during these three months,” Leiva told a press conference.
“Today I am announcing my retirement. It has been a difficult time.
“I finish where I would like, not how I would like. But I’m sure a new cycle will begin. I had high hopes that it might turn around, but it didn’t. My health comes first.
The Brazilian, who won the South American Under-20 Championship in 2007, has also won 24 international caps.
A statement from Liverpool read: “Everyone connected with Liverpool FC would like to wish Lucas the best in his next chapter.”