Mumbai: Premier Futsal, the world's first-ever multi-national Futsal league, has signed former Portugal star and multiple Champions League winner Anderson Luís de Souza, better known as Deco, to play in its inaugural season.
Deco, whose signing makes him the first marquee player to confirm his participation in the league, has been signed for three seasons. The franchise he will play for will be decided during the player draft.
World Cupper Deco said, "I'm really looking forward to playing in the inaugural season of Premier Futsal. I was born in Brazil and grew up playing Futsal on the streets. It's where I picked up the skills that laid the foundation for my success on the international stage and served me well throughout my career.
"So in a sense I'm returning to my roots. I can't wait to see how I match up against seasoned futsallers who have dedicated their entire career to the shorter, more intense format of the game."
Deco is one of very few players to have won the UEFA Champions League with two clubs ¿ FC Porto and Barcelona. The Brazil-born attacking midfielder, who played in Portuguese colours internationally, has won numerous accolades ¿ including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year honours ¿ in a decorated career spanning more than a decade.
Premier Futsal President Luis Figo said, "It gives me a great amount of joy to welcome Deco to Premier Futsal. We go back a long way, having shared the dressing room for Portugal during our playing careers.
"He has great talent, skill and ability as is evident from his storied international career which, I am confident, will add a whole lot to the quality of play in Premier Futsal's inaugural year. We are all extremely delighted to have him."
Premier Futsal Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer, Abhinandan Balasubramanian said, "Signing a player of Deco's global standing is a major coup for us as we head into our inaugural season. Following on from Falcao's singing, Deco's participation in Premier Futsal adds further gloss and sizzle to the league.
"It's a major vote of confidence for us that players of Deco's calibre are committing to multi-year deals to play in the league and brings us that one step closer to realising our vision for this wonderful sport."
Each franchise will be assigned a marquee international football player, seven international and five Indian Futsallers through a player draft scheduled later this month.
The league will kick off on July 15.