On July 25th, the Estádio do Dragão in Porto will play host to Deco’s testimonial match between the two sides with whom he won the Champions League. The match will pit Porto’s 2004 title-winning team against the 2006 side of Barcelona. The Brazillian-born Portuguese international will suit up for both sides, playing one half for each. The match will be aired live on beIN Sports at 2:30 EST.
Porto and Barcelona will be managed by their 2004 and 2006 managers, José Mourinho and Frank Rijkaard, respectively. On the pitch, players from both championship sides will reunite. Donning Porto’s blue and white kits again will include Vitor Baía, Ricardo Carvalho, Benni McCarthy, and Maniche. FC Barcelona’s team will include current stars Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, and Andrés Iniesta, along with former players Ronaldinho, Mark van Bommel, and recently-retired captain Carles Puyol.
Deco last played in 2013 with Brazilian club Fluminense. The midfielder made his first move to his adopted country in 1997 with Alverca, and eventually made his way to FC Porto two years later. In a five-year spell with the Portuguese giants, Deco won the domestic league and cup three times each. Under Mourinho’s management, he also won the UEFA Cup in 2003 and the Champions League in 2004. In a man of the match performance, Deco scored Porto’s second goal in the Champions League final, as they beat AS Monaco 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen.
After becoming a European champion for the first time, Deco moved to FC Barcelona, opting against a chance to reunite with Mourinho at Chelsea. Barcelona manager, Frank Rijkaard, deployed Deco in a three-man midfield to great effect. His early performances for the Catalan club capped a stellar year, with Deco finishing runner-up for the Ballon d’Or award in 2004. Barcelona went on to win La Liga in 2005 through Deco’s influence in his debut season. The next year, Deco achieved European glory for the second time, when Barcelona defeated Arsenal 2-1 in the 2006 Champions League Final in Paris. He was named Barcelona’s best player throughout that season, where they also won La Liga for the second consecutive year.
Deco did eventually move to Chelsea, though he was never reunited with Mourinho. He spent two years at the club and enjoyed a Premier League title in 2010, before moving back to his native Brazil. At Fluminense, Deco led the Rio de Janeiro club to two titles before retiring.
Friday’s match will represent the pinnacle of Deco’s brilliant career. Between 2004 and 2006, Deco was easily one of, if not the best central midfielders in the world, and his prolific trophy-haul is evidence of this. Granted, he has been blessed with phenomenal teammates throughout his career in Europe, but in both of his greatest triumphs, Deco was an incredibly important player. It’s no surprise at all that he was able to gather this many stars to pay tribute to his achievements in the game.
Barcelona vs Porto TV Schedule
The Barcelona vs Porto match will be televised on beIN Sports at 11:30 AM Pacific.