Deco: 'At Chelsea, the players spoke directly to the directors over Scolari. That wasn't good'
Few footballers can boast a list of achievements as broad as Anderson Luís de Souza's – that's Deco, to you and us. In an 18-year career, the former Chelsea midfielder won league and cup honours in four countries, as well as being one of a select group of players to have won club football’s biggest prize – the Champions League – with two different clubs (Porto and Barcelona). After opting to play for his adopted Portugal ahead of his native Brazil, Deco made 75 international appearances, scoring 15 times.
After retiring in 2013 he’s moved into player management, splitting his time between Barcelona and Sao Paolo. He’s also the face of Tiger Street Football in Asia, an annual tournament that took him to Cambodia and Mongolia, and concluded in Singapore where FFT caught up with him to answer your questions.
MORE PHOTOS Gallery: One-on-one with Deco in Singapore
As we await Deco’s arrival in the luxurious Fullerton Hotel, an old-school, red English post box stands in the centre of the Post Bar – a nod to the building’s former life as Singapore’s main post office, and symbolic given the nature of today’s One-on-One where Deco will be answering FFT readers' mail (even that which arrives digitally these days).
Deco arrives on his own with no entourage in tow, in keeping with his understated character. He greets everyone while apologising for being a little late – he’s been struggling with jet lag.
Unlike many modern day players – most of whom haven’t achieved a fraction of what Deco has – he’s clearly not comfortable with being the focus of our photographer. However, as we sit down over a coffee, he relaxes and opens up on the range of questions that have arrived from FFT's readers around the world...
Who’s the best player you've ever played with?
Ruben Cardoso via Facebook
It’s difficult to say one... maybe Leo [Messi]? But Ronny [Ronaldinho]... sometimes he did things that I never saw anyone else do. When we’d be winning the game, we’d start to enjoy ourselves and he’d bring it all out.
You've played with both, but who is the better player in your opinion: Ronaldo or Messi?
Dion Byrne, Ireland
It’s difficult to make a choice, not because I’m friends with both but because they're different. When you compare players like Cristiano Ronaldo and the Brazilian Ronaldo, or Messi and Maradona, it’s a bit easier because they are similar players, but it’s difficult with these two because they are so different. The goals that Cristiano scores, Messi doesn’t score, and goals that Messi scores, Cristiano doesn’t. Messi has the talent he was born with. Cristiano also has talent but it’s unbelievable how hard he has worked, how professional he is. You [fans] can choose because you like one more than the other, but you can’t say one is the best.