The 36-year-old played nearly 600 matches during his career, mostly in Europe, after joining Liverpool in 2007 before moving to Serie A in 2017, where he played for five seasons with Lazio.
Last summer, Leva returned to his boyhood club, Gremio, and played 17 matches and scored three goals for the Brazilian team, before he was sidelined in December when he was diagnosed with a heart attack after routine checks.
“I sincerely thank Gremio for all the support he has given me over the past three months. Today I announce my retirement. It was a difficult period,” Leiva told a news conference.
“I ended my career where I wanted, but not the way I wanted. But I am confident that a new chapter will begin. My health comes first.”
The Brazilian player, who won the 2007 South American Under-20 Championship, also played 24 international matches.
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