After 16 years, Benfica club legend Luisão announces his retirement
He was one of the longest-serving players in world football but Benfica legend Luisão has retired from playing football with immediate effect.
The 37-year old, who played for Brazil 44 times, joined Benfica in 2003, meaning this was his 16th season with the club.
Having played 538 games for The Eagles, Luisão is the club's second highest appearance maker in history, only behind attacker Nené, and joint with Antonio Veloso, in the all-time table.
Luisão signed a new contract extension with Benfica as recently as this summer, but he now embarks upon a new chapter in his footballing career, taking over in a new capacity as he is appointed a member of Benfica’s backroom staff, keeping him further associated with the club.
He did not make a single appearance for the club this season, falling to fifth in the pecking order, with Jardel and Ruben Dias the main centreback pairing, while new signings Conti and Lema are also ahead of him, meaning game time was always going to be in very short supply.
Luisão had an incredible career at Benfica, where he won the Primeira Liga on 6 occasions, the Taça da Liga 7 times, the Taça de Portugal 3 times and helped Benfica reach the final of the Europa League twice.
With his retirement comes a ceremony to bid farewell to one of Benfica’s greats, who not only lose a centreback, but a leader, a captain and a legend too.