Indian Super League has witnessed some global footballing icons with the likes of Alessandro Del Piero to Robert Pires who have plied their trade here in India, but failed to leave a mark on the field.
Then there are other icons such as Diego Forlan, Elano Blumer to Luis Garcia who have left huge mark during their stints on the Indian shore.
Then comes Leo Moura who had a successful career before coming to India and then went on to achieve greater heights after leaving India.
He is famous for being one of the few players who represented all four of the big Rio de Janeiro teams – Botafogo, Vasco, Fluminense, and Flamengo.
Europeans and South American players are believed to be in the peak of their powers during their late 20s and are considered to retire when they are around 34 years old (average).
Leo Moura was 36 years old when Goa signed him. Many considered him as one of the many aged players who come here to end their career.
Leo Moura began his footballing career at the youth division of Linhares Esporte Clube, where he played as a midfielder. He was transferred to Botafogo when he was still a part of Linhares youth set up. Later made his professional debut for the Botafogo team in 1998.
He then spent two seasons in Europe and returned back to his native country where he signed for Botafogo again.
He was part of the infamous Palmeiras squad of 2002 that was relegated to the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie B, the second division of Brazilian League.
In 2005 he signed for Brazilian giant Flamengo, won his career’s first title the following year and later cemented his place as a definite starter for the team.
He was chosen as the best right back in Brazil for two consecutive seasons in 2007 and 2008, which rewarded him in earning a National call up. He debuted in the Brazilian national team in a friendly match, which was played in Dublin against Ireland on 6th February 2008.
He was given the honour of leading the team in the 2010 season, with the captain’s armband. But in the following season, he was stripped off from the captain’s armband when Ronaldinho joined the club. Moura’s last game at Flamengo was on 4 March 2015, when he played a testimonial match against Nacional at the Maracana, the right-back made one of the assists as Flamengo beat Nacional 2-0.
He bid farewell to Flamengo after 11 seasons with the club where he played for 314 times, winning 8 major titles.
In 2015, he signed for FC Goa, who at the time were under head coach Zico.
Zico who had known Leo Moura from his Brazilian days, knew his abilities as well. Leo Moura revived his career in India after playing his testimonial match for Flamengo.
He was then given the responsibility and freedom on the pitch to express himself & the role of playing in the deep lying playmaker position, which turned out to be a massive success for him and the club.
The Brazilian was also the first player to complete 500 passes in the 2015 season.
He was a big part of the Brazilian core in the Gaur team during that season, which also constituted the likes of World Cup winner Lucio the club Captain, Jonathan Lucca and Reinaldo.
He was a crowd favorite at the Fatorda, topping the list of the assists, with 8 of them in that season & also chipped in with 2 goals. He was one of team’s most consistent and successful player on the pitch. He also turned out to be one of the most influential midfielder in the league throughout the season. He inspired FC Goa to reach the final but eventually missed the final showdown due to an injury as FC Goa finished as runners up behind Chennaiyin FC.
After the heartbreaking 3-2 defeat in the final against Chennaiyin, Moura moved on and had a stint with Brazilian sides Metropolitano and Santa Cruz before joining Grêmio.
In 2017 he won the Copa Libertadores with Grêmio which is equivalent to the Champions League Trophy.
This automatically booked the club’s place in the FIFA Club World Cup. Grêmio went all the way to the Final before they lost to the Star studded side of Real Madrid which was lead by Cristiano Ronaldo in the Final. Ronaldo scored the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute for Real Madrid.
Leo Moura ‘The journey man’ who has played for 16 different clubs in his illustrious career and also winning 14 major titles is now at the twilight of his career where he currently plays for Botafogo-PB in the third tier of the Brazilian League.
Leo Moura is one of the best signings in the history of the Indian Super League and is also among the few players who went on to succeed after their stint in India.