Portuguese international midfield player Paulo Sousa announced his retirement from professional football today due to persistent injuries.
"I formally announce my retirement as a professional football player," Sousa said in a statement released by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). "I am hurt by suffering from successive injuries which have prevented me from regularly exercising my professional activity."
World Cup experience
Sousa, who was capped 51 times and whose contract with Primera División CD Espanyol has just expired, will be 32 in August. He was a member of Portugal's 23-man squad which went to the FIFA World Cup finals in Korea/Japan, although he did not play in any of the side's three first-round matches.
He was another of Portugal's talented "golden generation" who won the FIFA World Youth Cup in 1989 and went on to glittering individual careers. Paulo Sousa started out on the road to stardom at SL Benfica, where he won the 1. Liga title in 1990/91 and the domestic cup the following season.
Lured to Juventus
He moved to Sporting Clube de Portugal in 1993 and stayed for just a season before being lured to Juventus FC. He won the Italian double in 1994/95 in addition to being named the best foreign player in Italy.
Champions League success
His first UEFA Champions League crown followed in 1995/96, a feat he repeated with BV Borussia Dortmund the following season - ironically defeating Juventus in the final. He was bought by Internazionale FC in 1997 and stayed until 2000 before heading to Greece and Panathinaikos FC.