From being written off as too small to be a professional footballer as a teenager in Brazil, Deco rose to become one of the driving forces of European football. It takes a special player to win the Champions League with two different sides and Deco was instrumental in the triumphs of Porto in 2004 and Barcelona in 2006.
A wonderfully gifted midfielder, what sets Deco apart is his ability to control games - setting the pace of the play with accurate passing and tireless movement. Such is the influence he exerts that his former manager at Chelsea and Portugal, Felipe Scolari, called him the bus conductor. But it was not always so easy for the Portuguese schemer.
Deco moved from Brazil to Portugal in 1997, joining Benfica. But Graeme Souness, Benfica's manager at the time, was not convinced of his talents and a transfer to Salguieros followed. After impressing there Deco was snapped up by Porto. He flourished at his new club, particularly after the arrival of Jose Mourinho in 2002. Deco was the lynchpin of Mourinho's team and was the main force behind their 2003 UEFA Cup win and the 2004 Champions League victory.
When Mourinho left for Chelsea rumours were rife that his protégé would come with him but Deco instead made the move to Spain, with Barcelona. Adapting to play in a deeper midfield position, Deco soon won over the fans and helped the club to the Primera Liga title in 2005.
The following year he was the club's player of the season as a fantastic season for Barca ended with them being crowned champions of Spain and Europe. In 2008 Deco joined Scolari at Stamford Bridge and made an immediate impact, winning the player of the month award in his first month in England.
His goal on the opening day of the season against Portsmouth, a 30-yard missile that capped a 4-0 victory, is still remembered fondly by Chelsea fans.
Two years later, Deco has moved backed to his Brazil homeland, for an emotional final few years with Fluminense. However, his moments of skill and genius orchestrating the midfield will not be forgotten at Stamford Bridge.