Deco Biography

Tue 08 June 2021 | 7:30

As UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and Ballon d'Or Silver Ball winner, he is regarded as one of the best players in Portuguese football history. In this article, we take a look at Deco biography.

Anderson Luís de Souza, better known as Deco, born in São Bernardo do Campo on 27 August 1977, is a Brazilian-born, Portuguese naturalized football player and sports entrepreneur who played as a midfielder for many clubs and the Portugal national team. His last club was Fluminense.

As one of the few players in the world of football, Deco was able to win the Champions League with two different clubs. In 2004 he won the Champions League with FC Porto and in 2006 with FC Barcelona, and was voted MVP of the competition in the 2003/2004 season.

Together with the Portuguese national team, Deco appeared at the 2004 and 2008 European Championships, and the 2006 World Cup and 2010 World Cup in Germany and South Africa, respectively. Deco has played seventy matches in Portugal's colors to date.

All You Need to Know About Deco Biography

On the morning of 26 August 2013, he announced his retirement. He bid farewell to football in a friendly match between Porto 2004 and Barcelona 2006, the teams for which he featured most prominently.

The game was held at Estádio do Dragão, a stadium belonging to Porto, the club of his heart, on 25 July 2014. Over the course of the match, Deco played for both teams and scored one goal apiece in the match which finished 4-4.

Deco Information

In this section of

Deco biography

, we will share some general information about him such as

Deco nationality

to let you know him much better.

Deco Bio

  • Full Name: Anderson Luís de Souza

  • Nickname: Deco

  • Profession: Professional Footballer

Deco Physical Stats

  • Weight: 73 Kg

  • Height: 1.74 m

  • Eye Color: Dark Brown

  • Hair Color: Dark Brown

Deco Football Information

  • Position: Midfielder

  • Jersey Number: 20

  • Professional Debut: 1996

Deco Date of Birth and Personal Info

  • Date of Birth: 27 August 1977

  • Birth Place: São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil

  • Zodiac Sign: Virgo

  • Nationality: Brazilian and Portuguese

Stay tuned as in this section of

Deco biography

we want to share some information about

Deco childhood


Deco Early Life

Deco was born in the southeastern Brazilian city of São Bernardo do Campo. As a child, his friends called him De (a shorter version of the name Anderson). On the other hand, it also means chattering. That is where his on-field nickname Deco came from. However, his original nickname was Decuzinho. He first started training at the small club Bom Fin de Campines.

In 1997 he moved to Corinthians Paulista but only played two league games for the club. He then moved to Corinthians Alagoano, only to leave for


Lisbon without making any appearances. Although he performed well in friendly matches, the Portuguese club's managers decided to loan out their player.

Deco Profile

The talented young Deco ended up at FC Alverca. During the 1997/98 season, he played over thirty games in the league and scored thirteen goals. Thanks to this performance and a good play Deco attracted the attention of

FC Porto

. He spent the second half of the season at SC Salgueiros, after which he signed a contract with the Portuguese giant.

Stay tuned as in this section of

Deco biography

we want to share some information about his career at Porto.

FC Porto

Under manager José Mourinho, he scored 10 goals in 30 games in the 2002-03 season and also received 17 yellow cards and one straight red that year. That same year he won the UEFA Cup in the final against


, adding to his league and Portuguese Cup successes to form a 'hat-trick' for both player and team. That summer Porto was defeated by AC Milan in the European Super Cup.

The following season the team went on to win the UEFA Champions League. Deco scored in the final against Monaco to make it 2-0 (final score 3-0). After the tournament, he was named the competition's best midfielder at the UEFA Club Football Awards ceremony. His international triumph was followed by his second consecutive league triumph.

Deco was bought by F.C. Barcelona in the summer of 2004 for 21 million euros, including Ricardo Quaresma, who went the other way. During his stay at Porto, Deco made 148 appearances and scored 33 goals in the Portuguese Primeira Liga.

FC Barcelona

While at


he was played by Frank Rijkaard as a true midfielder. He finished second in the Ballon d'Or in December 2004, behind the Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko of

AC Milan

and ahead of teammate Ronaldinho.

Following signs of recovery in the second half of the 2003-04 season, Deco assisted the Catalan side to occupy the top spot in La Liga from start to finish in the 2004-05 season and win the domestic title after five years. Barcelona was eliminated in the UEFA

Champions League

by Chelsea in the round of 16 double legs, winning 2-1 at Camp Nou and losing 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Barcelona's 2005-2006 season ended with a La Liga-Champions League double. In August, after beating Betis to win the Spanish Super Cup, in which Deco scored two goals, the Spanish team won La Liga for the 18th time, 12 points ahead of second-placed

Real Madrid

, and the UEFA Champions League for the second time in its history.

Deco was again named the competition's best midfielder for his Champions League performances, which he had also won two years earlier. His second European win meant Deco joined the group of players who have won multiple Champions Leagues with different teams.

That group includes players such as Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Manchester United), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich and Real Madrid), Clarence Seedorf (Ajax, Real Madrid, and AC Milan), Marcel Desailly (Olympique Marseille and AC Milan), Frank Rijkaard (AC Milan and Ajax), Didier Deschamps (Marseille and Juventus), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich and Manchester United), Xabi Alonso (


and Real Madrid), Edwin van der Sar (Ajax and Manchester United), Paulo Sousa (Juventus, Borussia Dortmund) and Eto'o (Barcelona and Inter Milan).

That year Deco was also named best player of the FIFA Club World Cup and man-of-the-match of the final, which however ended with Internacional winning. Deco had a termination clause of 75 million euros in the summer of 2007.

Following the end of Rijkaard's time on the Catalan bench, in the summer of 2008 Deco - by then a reserve at Barcelona due to high competition from other highly-rated players - as anticipated by new coach Josep Guardiola, left the Spanish club to join Chelsea, who had invested 10 million euros in his purchase and signed him on a three-year contract. Stay tuned as in this section of Deco biography we want to share some information about his Chelsea career.

Chelsea FC

After being pushed by the new manager of The Blues Luiz Felipe Scolari, Deco switched to


for around €10 million on 30 June 2008. Although the Portuguese quickly denied that his choice (accepting Chelsea's offer and rejecting Inter's offer) was due to the higher wages offered by the Londoners.

He was handed the number twenty jersey, which was given to him by Paulo Ferreira. He debuted for Chelsea on 23 July, playing in a friendly against Chinese Guangzhou Pharmaceutical. He played his first match in the Premier League on 17 August 2008, when he starred in a 4-0 win against Portsmouth FC. In this game, he also scored his first goal for The Blues. The Portuguese midfielder received the Barclays Premier League's best player of August award.

Deco secured his team's victory over Bolton Wanderers on 6 December with a knockdown shot. The player suffered a recurring hamstring injury in a game against

Manchester City

in March 2009. A month later, he returned to the field of play, when he appeared in a match against Bolton. This was the last appearance of the Portuguese in the 2008/2009 season, and his club finished third in the league and won the FA Cup.

At the beginning of June 2009, Deco announced that he wanted to leave Chelsea. In his words, playing for the London club doesn't give him joy. The Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho, with whom Deco had worked while at Porto, said that he would love to see him in his team. Inter Milan teammate Ricardo Carvalho was also linked with a move to Milan. In late June, Deco once again indicated that his wish was to leave west London and join Inter Milan. Afterward, the Portuguese midfielder criticized club owner Roman Abramovich for sacking Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Inter and Chelsea broke off talks over Deco and Carvalho's move to Milan on 1 July. They cited the reason being that the price was too high. A couple of days later Deco had a change of heart about his transfer and said he was willing to stay at the Stamford Bridge club.

In the end, the Portuguese stayed in the London team. His 2009/10 season started with an appearance in the Charity Shield game against

Manchester United

. He came on the pitch in the second half, when his team led 2-1, but in the 91st minute Wayne Rooney scored the equalizer. In order to decide, a penalty shoot-out was needed.

For the fourth penalty kick, Deco stepped up to the ball but was denied a shot because he was placed behind Salomon Kalou on a list that was given to the referee. In the end, The Blues won the penalty shootout 4:1 and won the Shield. Deco played his first league game in the new season a few days later when he featured against Hull City.

The Portuguese played a low ball into the penalty area to Didier Drogba, who overtook the rivals' goalkeeper. The goal by the Ivorian gave The Blues a 2:1 victory, and in the next match, Deco scored against Sunderland with a shot from eighteen yards to make it 3:1. The season ended with two more goals to his credit. Both of them he scored in matches against Bolton Wanderers - one in the league cup and the other in the Premier League.

His last game was in mid-April when he played the full 90 minutes against Tottenham Hotspur. During the 2009/2010 season, he won the English Premier League title with Chelsea and the FA Cup. Stay tuned as in this section of Deco biography we want to share some information about his Fluminense career.


After a long negotiation, Deco was released by his club on August 7, 2010, to eventually join


. He was introduced on August 9 and received the traditional number 20 shirt. His first match was against Vasco da Gama, in a game valid for the 15th round of the Brazilian League. The number 20 came on at 29 minutes of the second half and played well.

His very first goal in the Tricolor shirt came two games later, against Sao Paulo, in a 2-2 draw in the 17th round of the Brazilian League. For the rest of the year, injuries kept him out of the team, which ended up winning the competition.

The next year, he was unable to play in the state championship due to another injury, which also prevented him from playing in the first 3 games of the Libertadores 2011. Nevertheless, in his debut in the competition, Deco came off the bench and was directly responsible for Tricolor's 3-2 comeback victory against America, with one assist and a goal scored in the 42nd minute of the second half, keeping the team alive in the competition.

During the second half of 2011, Deco had a good sequence of games at Fluminense during the return of the Brazilian Championship, being instrumental in the good campaign that ensured a pull-out to 3rd place in the competition. Deco renewed his contract for another year and stated his love for the club, besides reaching the Top 5 of the best midfielders of the Armando Nogueira Trophy, also winning the fans' appreciation.

Deco made 5 assists in the two games between the 5th and 6th round on June 16 and June 24, 2012, in the games against Atlético Goianiense and Portuguesa both in 4-1 wins away and at home. This year Deco scored one goal in the Brazilian Championship in a 4-1 win over Atlético Goianiense, scored 3 goals in the Carioca Championship against Vasco, Boavista, and Macaé, and 1 goal in the Copa Santander Libertadores against Boca Juniors in a 2-1 win.

On September 30, 2012, after a corner kick, Deco sent the ball to Fred with a flick and Fred volleyed the ball in, scoring the goal of the 1-0 victory for Tricolor, in that second Fla-Flu of the year. He was honored by his former club Barcelona on 16 December, in the match against Atlético de Madrid.

He became involved, in 2013, in an episode regarding doping, pending final judgment. The defense of Deco bet on the clean record of the veteran player, and on the fact that the vitamin complexes the athlete used could suffer contamination. The dosages of hydrochlorothiazide and carboxy-tamoxifen found were too small to bring any benefit to the athlete.

Deco's "innocence" was even mentioned by the Court, but it was emphasized that by using manipulated medicines, the player risked contamination. Deco was suspended for 30 days but was already free to return to play. He completed the 30 days in the preventive suspension period before the trial. In this way, he was able to return with Fluminense in the restart of the Brazilian Championship after the end of the Confederations Cup.

After suffering four muscle injuries in one year, he announced his retirement from competitive action on 26 August 2013. He declared on the day of his retirement:

"I would have liked to help Fluminense a lot more, however, my body does not allow me to do so. I certainly made an effort and many people supported me to continue until the end of the year. On the physical side, I could play, but my muscles can't take it anymore."

He marked his farewell to football on 26 July 2014 with a friendly match in Porto between his two former teams, F.C. Porto and F.C. Barcelona, together with several of his old teammates. The match ended 4-4 and Deco wore both jerseys and scored the last goal with a lob before leaving the field to the applause of the fans.

Portugal National Team

Deco was eligible to represent Portugal. After six years in Portugal with various Portuguese clubs, he gained dual citizenship in 2002. Within a few months, with disagreement from the public and even several national team players and clubs, Deco was finally called up for the first time to represent the Portuguese national team, in a friendly match against the Brazilian national team. He scored the winning goal via a free-kick, which gave Portugal a 2-1 victory. This was Portugal's first win against Brazil since the 1966 World Cup. From then on, Deco was almost an absolute starter in the national team, and he was given the status of a playmaker. Even though his call-up to the national team was initially criticized, he became one of the stars of the Portuguese squad.

Deco was selected by compatriot Luiz Felipe Scolari in the squad to represent Portugal at Euro 2004. He helped the team reach the final of a European championship for the first time in history, although in the final they were defeated by Greece.

He scored the first goal at the 2006 World Cup in the second game of Group D, against


, before Cristiano Ronaldo scored the final 2-0 in the 80th minute. In the knockout stage, he received two yellow cards and consequently the red card, which kept him from playing in the quarterfinals against England, a game Portugal won in a penalty shootout. The Portuguese would return from suspension in the semi-final against France, where Portugal lost 1-0, with a goal from Zinédine Zidane.

Deco scored the first goal for the Portuguese national team against the Czech Republic on 11 June 2008, in a match in which the Portuguese national team won 3-1. He played in all four matches, including the quarter-finals loss against Germany.

During his second FIFA World Cup, Deco only played the first match against Ivory Coast, where he got injured and was unable to play the two remaining matches against North Korea and Brazil. However, in the Round of 16 match against Spain, Deco announced that he had recovered and was ready to rejoin the squad, but coach Carlos Queiroz opted to keep Tiago on in place of the veteran, but Deco did not leave the bench in the match in which the Portuguese team was eliminated 1-0.

After the 2010 World Cup, Deco retired from the national team with five goals scored in 75 matches played. Stay tuned as in this section of Deco biography we want to share some information about his playing style.

Style of Play

Deco was a versatile player who first made his name with Mourinho's Porto as a central midfielder. Gifted with crystal-clear class, his strengths included ease of dribbling and vision, and he proved to be an excellent assist man. Although lacking in athleticism, Deco was still able to compete with players of greater size and physicality. He also had good free-kicking ability, and his technical repertoire included an excellent shot and the ability to hit precise crosses and long throws.


Many football fans and critics consider Deco to be amongst the greatest Portuguese players of his generation. Between the two UEFA Champions League finals that he managed to become champions with FC Porto and Barcelona, he was playing at the top of his game, and at the time many regarded him amongst the best midfielders in the world.

Goal Celebration

Deco scored many goals during his career as a midfielder, and although he didn’t have a signature goal celebration, there were some Deco goal celebrations that Portuguese football fans simply will not forget. After scoring a magical goal against Iran in the 2006 World Cup, while he was running to the Portugal bench in full joy, he kissed his national team jersey.

Deco outside Football

Following his retirement, he embarked on a career as an agent alongside Jorge Mendes. He also spends more time with his family these days as he is away from an active playing career.

Deco Personal Life

In this section of Deco biography, we will take a look at his personal life and share some information about

Deco life story


Deco religion


Family, Children, and Relationships

Deco is a brother-in-law of Alecsandro, who last played for the Brazilian club CSA, and of Richarlyson, who was a player of the Brazilian club Esporte Clube Noroeste.

As Deco began his career in Europe in 1997, Scylla, his first wife, whom he had met three years earlier, relocated with him to Portugal. Deco and Scylla had two sons, João Gabriel and Pedro Henrique, who both now live in Brazil with their mother.

Deco met Jaciara at a party in Salvador a few years later and then divorced Scylla to live with Jaciara in Porto. They got married in April 2005 and had two children: David and Yasmin. They had their divorce announced in March 2008. He then married Ana Paula in 2009, and they had a daughter Sofia.

He became a father for the sixth time in September 2018. Little Olivia is the second daughter born from the marriage of the former footballer with Ana Paula Schiavetti.


Deco has always been active in charity projects, especially in his home country Brazil. Deco founded the institute "DECO 20", near São Paulo, where he grew up. Deco has told the media that he decided to found this non-profit organization to help struggling young people in Brazil to have a good education and succeed in the sport. 

Legal Issues

As we said before, in 2013 Deco was accused of doping while he was playing in Brazil. However, the former Fluminense player was cleared on 27 May 2014 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The CAS said in a statement it had cleared the former Portugal midfielder following the finding of no banned substances in a new test, carried out in March of that year at a laboratory in Lausanne, where the tribunal's headquarters are located.

Deco Career Statistics

In this section of Deco biography, we will take a look at his career stats both on the club and international level.


In a 17-years career as a professional footballer, Deco has played a total of 588 matches in all competitions and scored 97 goals. Among all the clubs he has played in these years, with 229 matches and 48 goals scored, FC Porto is the absolute highlight of his career.


Between 2003 and 2010, Deco played a total of 75 matches with the Portugal national team and scored 5 goals. With 15 matches played, 2004 was his most active year on the international stage, where he played in the final of Euro and lost to Greece.

Deco Honors

During his playing career on club level, Deco has won many titles, which most notable of them include Primeira Divisão/Liga, Taça de Portugal, Supertaça Cândido de Oliveira, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup,

La Liga

, Supercopa de España, English Premier League and some others. On an international level Deco has never won any awards or titles.

Of his notable individual titles and awards, we can mention Ballon D'or Silver Ball, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year, 2004 UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball, Portuguese League Footballer of the Year and many others.

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