A former Liverpool star who served the club for 10 years has sadly had to retire from the beautiful game at just 36 years of age because of a recently diagnosed heart condition.
Lucas Leiva was much loved during his time at Anfield where he plied his trade from 2007-2017, before signing for Lazio and subsequently his boyhood club, Gremio.
Though he missed the recent glory years under Jurgen Klopp, Leiva was always the most dependable of servants in the Reds midfield.
Back in 2017 once his Serie A switch was announced, Liverpool legend, Steven Gerrard, recounted his admiration for the player both for his attributes on the pitch and his conduct off it.
“I just smile when I think of Lucas because I’ve spoken about the player and what he gives to the team with and without the ball, but the person as well is just as important, for me,” he told the official Liverpool website.
“He is certainly one of the best people I’ve met through my journey in my career. I’ve got plenty of time for him and he’s got a superb family supporting him. I wish them all the best. For me there’s always a place for Lucas Leiva at Liverpool Football Club and he’s always welcome to come back here. I’ve got a lot of time for him.”
Incredibly, it’s already been six years since the Brazilian left the Kop and the Premier League behind, and now the tough decision has been made to leave the beautiful game behind aswell.
The player was philosophical when announcing the news at a recent press conference.
“Today I am announcing my retirement. It’s been a difficult period,” he said to gather media and reported by The Guardian.
“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.”
Even if he was never what would be classed as a household name, it’s clear that he was held in very high regard by those who played alongside him.
Football will be the poorer without him.