Anderson Luis de Sousa
Nickname: Deco, Mágico
Brazilian born with Portuguese citizenship
Date and Place of Birth:
August 27, 1977 in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil
Chelsea (English Premier League)
Club Career History:1996-1997 Corinthians
1997 - 1998 Alverca
1999 - 2004 FC Porto
2004 - 2008 FC Barcelona
2008 - present Chelsea
2003 present Portugal
For a player with such a European pedigree at this stage of his career, Deco's early forays into the European game were somewhat less than earth shattering. He initially came to Portugal as a 19 year old in 1997 on trial with Benfica but after failing to impress sufficiently there he was loaned to Alverca of the Portuguese Liga de Honra (second division) where he had a successful season scoring 13 goals in his 32 appearances.
After failing to agree terms again with Benfica, Deco moved on to Salgueiros where he caught the eye of FC Porto and was transferred again in the winter transfer window to the club where he would eventually make his name.
Displaying an unexpected aggressive streak for one of such small stature, Deco became as famous in his early years at Porto for his tough tackling reputation as his skills on the ball which earned him the nickname "magico" from Porto fans.
Deco's real talent was shown under then Porto coach Jose Mourinho as he helped the club firstly to the UEFA Cup in 2002/2003 with 10 goals in 30 games and the following season to a surprise Portuguese league and European Cup double, for which he earned himself the title of UEFA's Most Valuable Player and best midfielder in the Champion's League competition.
Following defeat for Portugal in the 2004 European Championships final, Deco moved to FC Barcelona rather than follow his mentor Mourinho to Chelsea and has since added another European Cup winner's medal and two La Liga titles with the Catalan club.
Having established himself as the playmaker for both his adopted home country of Portugal and European champions Barcelona, Deco has come a long way from the young boy from Brazil who failed to impress Graeme Souness in his time at Benfica.