Lucas Leiva has announced his retirement at the age of 36 due to a heart condition – and Luis Suarez has just revealed a wonderful tribute to the former Liverpool midfielder.
The Brazilian joined Liverpool from his boyhood club Gremio back in 2007. He ended up staying at Anfield for 10 years and made over 300 appearances for the club, eventually moving onto Lazio where he enjoyed similar cult hero status.
He rejoined Gremio late last year and made a further 18 appearances for the Porto Alegre-based side.
Unfortunately, he never had a chance to reunite on the pitch with old pal Suarez, who signed for Gremio after the World Cup. Lucas didn’t end up appearing for Gremio in 2023 after the discovery of the heart issue last year.
“I would like to thank Gremio for all the support in these three months,” Lucas said in a news conference on Friday. “Today I am announcing my retirement. It’s been a difficult period.
“I’m ending where I would like, not the way I would like. But I’m sure a new cycle will begin. I had a lot of hope that [the issue] could be reversed, but it was not the case. My health comes first.”
“The day has come to say goodbye to the field,” Lucas added in a post on social media.
“I confess that it came from greater forces, but I look back and can only be thankful for the career I built. In 2007 I transferred to the giant Liverpool, which was part of my life for 10 years.
“It is with great pride that I can say that today Liverpool is my home. I’m proud to be an English citizen and along with my family, I’m [a] Scouser!”
“Lucas – I hope everything is OK,” Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish wrote on Twitter.
“The respect you have in Liverpool is truly genuine. We are all here if we can be of any help whatsoever, and we wish you luck in your next chapter. These pictures speak louder than any words. YNWA.”
Meanwhile, Suarez has scored seven goals and notched three assists in 11 appearances for Gremio.
On Sunday, they took on Ypiranga Erechim in the Campeonato Gaucho semi-finals.
Suarez scored Gremio’s opener in the 12th minute before wheeling away to celebrate. The veteran Uruguayan lifted his shirt to reveal a tribute to his old Liverpool team-mate.
“Lucas, our heart is with you,” the message read.
Gremio ended up losing 2-1 to Ypiranga but they have the opportunity to get their revenge in the second leg of the semi-final next weekend.
— Grêmio FBPA (@Gremio) March 19, 2023
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 18, 2023