Deco, the current Sporting Director of Barcelona, has a rich history with Porto, the Catalan club’s group stage rival in the Champions League. Between 1998 and 2004, the Portuguese-Brazilian midfielder achieved numerous titles with the Portuguese national team and emerged as one of the world’s top players before his move to Camp Nou.
In 2003, after winning the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) with Porto, Deco received a tempting offer of 19.5 million euros from Barcelona. He expressed his desire to leave Porto to then-President Pinto da Costa. However, the Porto board asked Deco to stay for another year, and they boldly predicted that the Portuguese club would win the next edition of the Champions League.
Responding to the president’s words, Deco remained at the Dragão stadium. Under the management of José Mourinho, he played a pivotal role in Porto’s surprising victory in the 2004 Champions League.
Despite his high market value, Deco received several offers, including one from Chelsea, who also acquired Mourinho and full-back Paulo Ferreira from Porto. Sandro Rosell, then vice-president of Barcelona, approached Deco with an offer of 21 million euros, but Deco revealed that Chelsea had offered 45 million euros. Rosell asked him to apply pressure, but Deco was initially skeptical about discussing the situation with Pinto da Costa, thinking it would be futile. However, when he finally spoke to the president, Pinto da Costa surprised him, saying, “Didn’t I promise you that I would go to Barcelona?” Deco made the move to Barcelona, despite the operation costing Porto 24 million euros.
In July, Porto agreed to sell Deco to Barcelona for 15 million euros and received striker Ricardo Quaresma in exchange, valued at six million euros. The transfer was eventually closed at around 21 million euros.
Deco spent four successful seasons at Barcelona, shining alongside stars like Ronaldinho Gaúcho, Eto’o, Lionel Messi, and Rafa Márquez. During his time at the club, he won a Champions League, two La Liga titles, and two Spanish Super Cups.
Despite later stints with Chelsea and Fluminense before retiring from football, Deco’s bond with Barcelona remained strong. He continued to maintain ties with the club by playing friendly matches with the Barça Legends team and becoming an agent and partner in a player management company. One of the players he assisted in joining Barcelona was forward Raphinha, who has been with the club since the middle of last year. Deco also played a role in Barcelona’s acquisition of young striker Vítor Roque from Athletico-PR.
In August of this year, Deco was appointed as Barcelona’s new Sporting Director by President Joan Laporta, with a contract valid for three seasons. Upon taking office, he had to resign from his involvement in companies that managed the careers of athletes, focusing on his new role in shaping the future of Barcelona’s footballing endeavors.