Former playmaker Deco is appointed as Barcelona’s new sporting director

Deco is taking over as Barcelona’s new sporting director, the Spanish club said on Wednesday.

The former Portugal and Barcelona playmaker signed a contract for the next three seasons and is already working to try to boost the squad during the current transfer window. He played for Barcelona between 2004-08, helping it win the 2006 Champions League.

“Deco will be in charge of setting FC Barcelona’s sporting philosophy and putting together the squad with coach (Xavi) and his staff, becoming the head of the football department,” the club said.

The 45-year-old Deco will replace Mateu Alemany, who will remain with the club only until the end of the current transfer window in September.

Barcelona said Alemany and Deco “will continue to work together until the closing of the transfer window.” It said that in the “coming weeks the club will release details of the FC Barcelona sporting structure.”

Deco, who was born in Brazil, scored 20 goals and had 45 assists in 161 appearances with the club.

“He returns as an expert in discovering new talent with an important role to play in the club’s future,” Barcelona said.

Barcelona’s main signing this season was veteran midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Manchester City. Ousmane Dembélé left for Paris Saint-Germain, while Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba made a move to join Lionel Messi at Inter Miami after the end of the season.

Still not fully healthy financially, Barcelona was not able to bring back neither Messi nor Neymar. Deco may be crucial in helping the club sign Portugal defender João Cancelo from Manchester City.

The club began the defense of its Spanish league title with a 0-0 draw at Getafe on Sunday. It hosts Cadiz next Sunday.

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