Former Portugal striker João Vieira Pinto has decided to retire at the age of 36, having won league titles with both SL Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal.
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The right time
"I had offers from other clubs but I think this is the perfect time to say goodbye," said the forward, who played at EURO '96™, UEFA EURO 2000™ and the 2002 FIFA World Cup. "I want to say thank you to all my family, especially at this stage of my career, as well as all the clubs I've represented. I have mixed feelings at the moment but I am very happy to end my playing career in the year that my son [Tiago Pinto] will make his debut in the Portuguese Liga [with CD Trofense]. Besides, I am proud of my career. Now I will have plenty of time to rest and then I will decide what I am going to do in the future."
Part of the Portuguese Golden Generation which won the FIFA World Youth Cup in 1989 and 1991, João Pinto came through the youth system at Boavista FC, making his league debut at the age of 17 in 1989 before moving to Club Atlético de Madrid for one fruitless season in 1990. He returned for two further campaigns at Boavista before joining Benfica in 1992, playing a part in a famous 6-3 win against Sporting which helped the Eagles win the 1993/94 title. He stayed with Benfica until 2000 before joining Sporting, where he won another championship in 2001/02. João Pinto then returned to Boavista in 2004, and to SC Braga two seasons later. In total, he scored over 100 goals in 476 league games, as well as a further 23 goals in 81 games for Portugal.