|Full name||Francisco Santos da Silva Júnior|
|Date of birth||18 January 1992|
|Place of birth||Bissau, Guinea-Bissau|
|Height||1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Playing position||Central midfielder|
|2006||Benfica de Bissau|
|2013–2014||→ Vitesse Arnhem (loan)||2||(0)|
|2014||→ Strømsgodset (loan)||12||(1)|
|2015||→ Port Vale (loan)||1||(0)|
|2015–2016||→ Wigan Athletic (loan)||10||(1)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 29 April 2017|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 25 June 2018
Francisco Santos da Silva Júnior (born 18 January 1992), commonly known as Francisco Júnior, is a Bissau-Guinean professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Tippeligaen club Strømsgodset and the Guinea-Bissau national football team. He has also represented Portugal internationally at under-19 and under-21 level.
Originally from Guinea-Bissau, he was signed by Portuguese side Benfica whilst with Benfica de Bissau in 2007. He signed with English club Everton in February 2012, who loaned him out to Vitesse Arnhem (Holland), Strømsgodset (Norway), Port Vale, and Wigan Athletic. He joined Strømsgodset on a free transfer in February 2016.
Júnior started his club career in Bissau with Sport Bissau e Benfica in Guinea-Bissau at youth level, he was spotted by talent scouts from F.C. Porto and Sporting Clube de Portugal but soon transferred to Benfica. His professional career began with Benfica in 2008, and he was contracted to the club until 2013 as there was a clause in the contract that automatically converted Júnior's youth contract into a professional contract.
Júnior was loaned to U.D. Leiria in 2011 but never showed up to play for Leiria, and it was found that the player had been training with Manchester City unbeknownst to Benfica. Benfica's president Luís Filipe Vieira told Manchester City to return the player to Benfica and sent the English club a plane ticket for Júnior's return. Vieira also threatened to report Manchester City to FIFA. In July 2011, Manchester-based media reported that Júnior was on trial with Manchester City, playing with their Development XI team in a friendly against Altrincham. Guinea-Bissauan sports agent Catió Balde and Anglo-Iranian lawyer Kia Joorabchian intervened and Manchester City were forced to release the player. Manchester City compensated Benfica with €1.5million.
In February 2012, Júnior signed professional terms with Everton having signed on a free transfer. In an interview with Guinea-Bissauan website Bola na Bantaba, Júnior stated that he signed for Everton because he "was tired of the impasse between Benfica and Manchester City and businessmen who wanted to win more than they should". He made his debut for the "Toffees" under David Moyes in a 1–0 League Cup defeat to Leeds United at Elland Road; he was taken off for Phil Neville at half-time.
On 1 September 2013, Júnior signed with Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem, in a season-long loan deal. This loan deal was later cancelled due to a knee injury, and a new five-month loan deal with Norwegian Tippeliga side Strømsgodset was signed in February 2014. The loan deal was later extended by one month, and expired in August.
In December 2014 he began training with Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic under Ronny Deila, his former manager at Strømsgodset. On 26 March 2015, Júnior joined League One side Port Vale on loan until the end of the 2014–15 season. "Valiants" manager Rob Page said that "I'd like to thank Roberto Martínez for his co-operation with getting this deal over the line."
He returned to League One with newly relegated Wigan Athletic after joining on an initial one-month loan in July 2015. He made his debut for the "Latics" on 8 August in a 2–0 defeat to Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena. His loan was extended until 16 January after being described as a "revelation" by manager Gary Caldwell. However, he was forced to return to Everton in December for treatment on a long-standing groin problem.
"Things happened, most of them were my mistakes and my fault... When I came to the UK, I was in Manchester and it was one week before I lost my mum... when I lost my mum it was like I lost my world... I lost my head.... they [Everton] didn’t care about me.. that is one of the things why I didn’t make it at Everton. They were always trying to see what I was doing wrong but never why or trying to help me."— Speaking in an interview March 2016, Júnior took responsibility for his failure to make the garde at Goodison, but also criticised the club.
In February 2016, he signed a two-year contract with Norwegian Tippeligaen club Strømsgodset. He scored one goal in 24 appearances in the 2016 season, as the club posted an eighth-place finish. He played 29 of the club's 30 league games in the 2017 season as Strømsgodset finished in forth-place, missing out on a UEFA Europa League qualification place by a single point.
Júnior was called up for Portugal under-19 team in January 2011 for the four-team round-robin friendly La Manga Club tournament. His debut came against Slovakia, having replaced Rúben Pinto in the 73rd minute. He came on as a substitute in the 55th minute in the game against Norway and he helped Portugal retain their title, starting in the 3–1 win over Sweden in the tournament's final game. After leaving Benfica he rejected the chance to join the Portuguese under-20 team and told Guinea-Bissaun media in June 2012 that he wants to represent Guinea-Bissau. He was called up by the Guinea-Bissau national team in February 2012 to face Cameroon in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign, but did not receive notification in time. In October 2012, he played for Portugal's under 21 side in a friendly against Ukraine.
He was selected by Baciro Candé in the Guinea-Bissau squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. He made his debut on the opening match of the tournament, in a 1–1 draw with hosts Gabon on 14 January 2017.
- As of 10 June 2018.
|Club||Season||Division||League||National Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Vitesse Arnhem (loan)||2013–14||Eredivisie||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Port Vale (loan)||2014–15||League One||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Wigan Athletic (loan)||2015–16||League One||10||1||1||0||0||0||1[a]||0||12||1|
- Appearance/s in the EFL Trophy.
- "Barclays Premier League Squad Numbers 2013/14". Premier League. 16 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- Clussé, Ladislau (10 June 2012). "Parte 1: Entrevista com Francisco Júnior" (in Portuguese). Bola na Bantaba. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Perreira, Antonio (10 September 2011). "Manchester City esconde craque do Benfica" (in Portuguese). cmjornal.xl.pt. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Whalley, Mike (30 July 2011). "Altrincham 1 Manchester City XI 2". MENmedia.co.uk. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- Perreira, Antonio (12 February 2012). "Águias encaixam 1,5 milhões com ex-júnior" (in Portuguese). cmjornal.xl.pt. Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- Clussé, Ladislau (10 June 2012). "Parte 2: Francisco Junior "Se dependesse de mim, jogaria na seleção do meu país"" (in Portuguese). Bola na Bantaba. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "Leeds United 1–0 Everton". BBC Sport. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Junior klar for Godset". dt.no. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "Desperat etter å bli i Godset". dt.no. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
- "Everton's Francisco Junior trains with Celtic". BBC Sport. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Collins, Junior and Coulibaly make move to Port Vale on loan". BBC Sport. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Baggaley, Mike (26 March 2015). "Port Vale sign Everton midfielder Francisco Junior on loan". The Sentinel. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- "Everton's Francisco Junior & Jonjoe Kenny join Wigan on loan". BBC Sport. 21 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- "Coventry 2 - 0 Wigan". BBC Sport. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
- "Francisco Junior: Wigan Athletic extend Everton midfielder's loan". BBC Sport. 21 August 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Jones, Neil (21 December 2015). "Francisco Junior back at Everton for treatment - but Wigan want to extend loan deal". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Kirkbride, Phil (4 March 2016). "Francisco Junior - My Everton failure, Moyes, Leeds and losing my mum". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
- "Francisco Junior klar for Godset". godset.no (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 24 February 2016. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Francisco Júnior at Soccerway
- "Francisco Júnior estreia-se para o Torneio de La Manga" (in Portuguese). sapo.pt. 31 January 2011. Archived from the original on 16 April 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
- "Sub-19: Portugal entra a ganhar no Torneio de La Manga" (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 7 February 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Igualdade com nórdicos" (in Portuguese). fpf.pt. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.[permanent dead link]
- "Sub-19: Portugal conquista Torneio de La Manga" (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
- "Última Hora: Bucundji, Francisco e Ismael não vão jogar contra Camarões" (in Portuguese). Bola Na Bantaba. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- "PORTUGAL-UCRÂNIA, 0-1" (in Portuguese). record.xl.pt. 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Gleeson, Gleeson (18 December 2016). "Debutants Guinea Bissau name preliminary Nations Cup squad". BBC Sport. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
- "Afcon 2017: Guinea-Bissau shock hosts Gabon to secure draw". BBC Sport. 14 January 2017. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- "Games played by Francisco Júnior in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Francisco Júnior in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Francisco Júnior in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Francisco Júnior in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.