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30.06.2008 20:39

The barometer of the Rijkaard era


A winning mentality was one of the most distinctive features of Deco during his four years at FC Barcelona.

“He’s the barometer of the team”. Rijkaard always saw Deco as an extension of himself on the pitch. The midfielder was the balance Barça needed and was crucial for the Dutch coach in the four seasons he played for Barça. He could defend, attack and organise the way the team played. He gave the side character and strength and was vital in winning two League titles and the Champions League in Paris.
His transfer was worked out during Euro 2004 in Portugal and he came as a Champions League winner with José Mourinho’s Porto. Deco was presented on 6 July and inherited the number 20 shirt from his compatriot, Ricardo Quaresma, who returned to Portugal as part of the deal.

His debut

Deco.jpgTo begin with, a derby. And a title: the Catalan Cup. Anderson Luis de Souza’s first competitive match with FC Barcelona was in the Nou Estadi in Tarragona as Barça took on local rivals Espanyol in the final of the Catalan Cup, winning 2-0 with goals by Deco and Ronaldinho. The Portuguese opened the scoring with a powerful drive from the right which Kameni couldn’t stop. It had taken just one game to show that signing Deco was a good move.

His figures

BF1F2664.JPGDeco has played 112 League games for Barça, 32 Champions League games, 9 Spanish Cup matches, 4 Spanish Super Cup fixtures, the final of the European Super Cup against Seville and two World Club Championship games in Yokohama in 2006. He has also scored 21 goals, with his best season being his first when he found the net on nine occasions.

This season

deco_gol.jpgMuscle problems have prevented Deco from playing regularly in recent seasons. This season he played 18 League matches, 6 Champions League games, and 5 Cup matches. He only scored one goal, in the League against Atlético de Madrid in the Camp Nou.

Deflections also count

They were his great speciality. A powerful shot which is deflected off an opponent and ends up in the back of the net. Deco was an expert, especially in his first season at Barça, with Mallorca and Espanyol among his victims.
The barometer of the Rijkaard era
Titles won with Barça
2 Leagues: 2004/05, 2005/06
1 Champions League: 2005/06
2 Spanish Super Cups: 2005/06, 2006/07
2 Catalan Cups: 2004/05, 2006/07

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