Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Chelsea sign Portugal winger Deco

Chelsea sign Portugal winger Deco

Chelsea signed Portugal's Brazilian-born playmaker Deco from Barcelona on Monday, the day before Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari takes over as coach of the Premier League side.

The 30-year-old midfielder is close to Scolari who coached him with the Portugal national side, taking them to the Euro 2004 final and the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 [Images] earlier this month before signing for London [Images] side.

More importantly perhaps for Chelsea, beaten Champions League finalists last season, is Deco's experience in Europe's top club competition which Chelsea have never won.

Deco won the Champions League title with Porto in 2004 under Jose Mourinho, who was later to become Chelsea coach, and then with Barcelona in 2006.

Nicknamed Magico, Deco started his career with Brazilian club Corinthians, before moving to Portugal in 1999. He won three Portuguese titles as well as the UEFA [Images] Cup and Champions League before moving to Barcelona in 2004.

"I am sure I have come at the right time to do great things and help Chelsea go back to the way it was and come back to being the first one not only in England [Images] but also in the champions League which has been a dream for so long," Deco was quoted as saying on the club's Web site www.chelseafc.

Deco, valued at about 10 million euros ($15.81 million), was one of Portugal's better players at Euro 2008, inspiring them with his midfield brilliance to victories over Turkey and Czech Republic that qualified them for the quarter-finals with a group match to spare.

Having had a difficult, injury-plagued season at Barcelona, Scolari heaped praise on Portugal's physical training staff for getting Deco up to scratch for the tournament.

However, that Deco and most of the first team were rested for the third match against Switzerland [Images] has been blamed by some for Portugal's limp performance against Germany [Images] in the last eight that ended in a 3-2 defeat and elimination.


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