LISBON: FC Porto's Brazilian midfielder Deco insisted on Tuesday he felt just as Portuguese as Brazilian in a clear dig at critics of Portugal coach Luis Felipe Scolari's policy of selecting players like Deco, who have adopted Portuguese citizenship.
Anderson Luis de Souza, or Deco as he is known, was picked by Scolari last week for Saturday's friendly against Brazil in Porto.
Portugal internationals like Luis Figo and Rui Costa have questioned Scolari's decision to use players like Deco who have taken out Portuguese nationality.
But, in response, the 25-year-old Deco said: I feel just as Portuguese as Brazilian. I didn't interpret the attacks as being aimed at me.
He added that Scolari's critics were only expressing their personal opinion.
Scolari has made plain that any member of his squad who did not agree with his decisions was free to quit the team.
The man who coached Brazil to last year's World Cup triumph received support from Gilberto Madail, president of Portugal's Football Federation, who described Deco's selection as legitimate for someone who had lived in Portugal since the age of 19.
Madail described criticism of Scolari, who coached Brazil to last year's World Cup triumph, as treason. AFP