Juninho Pernambucano

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For other people named Juninho, see Juninho (disambiguation).
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Ribeiro and the second or paternal family name is Reis.
Juninho wikipedia.jpg
Juninho training with Lyon in 2006
Personal information
Full name Antônio Augusto Ribeiro Reis Jr.
Date of birth (1975-01-30) 30 January 1975 (age 41)
Place of birth Recife, Brazil
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1991–1992 Sport
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1993–1994 Sport 24 (2)
1995–2001 Vasco da Gama 111 (26)
2001–2009 Lyon 248 (75)
2009–2011 Al-Gharafa 40 (15)
2011–2012 Vasco da Gama 50 (11)
2013 New York Red Bulls 13 (0)
2013 Vasco da Gama 21 (2)
Total 507 (131)
National team
1999–2006 Brazil[2] 40 (6)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Antônio Augusto Ribeiro Reis Jr. (born 30 January 1975), commonly known as Juninho (Little Jr.) or Juninho Pernambucano,[3] is a retired Brazilian footballer. Noted for his bending free kicks, he is considered by some in the sport to be the greatest free-kick specialist of all time.[4]

He led Olympique Lyonnais to seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles before leaving the club in 2009, having scored 100 goals in 350 official games for Lyon.[5]

From his international debut in 1999, Juninho played 40 games for the Brazilian national team and scored six goals. He played at the 2001 Copa América and retired from international football after the 2006 World Cup.

Since 2013 Juninho has been a football commentator with Brazilian sports network Rede Globo.[6]

Club career[edit]

Early career: Sport Recife and Vasco da Gama[edit]

Born in Recife, Juninho started his career at Sport Recife and quickly established himself as a rising star in Brazilian football. After winning two regional titles with Sport, he moved to Vasco da Gama in 1995, and won several trophies with the club, including the Brazilian Championship in 1997 and 2000, the Copa Libertadores in 1998, the Copa Mercosur in 2000, as well as the 2000 Brazilian Silver Ball award as one of the best Brazilian midfielders of the season. At that time, he was playing with Romário, Edmundo, and Juninho Paulista.

King of São Januário[edit]

Before joining Lyon, Juninho played for Vasco da Gama in Brazil. While there, he won the Brazilian Championship twice (1997 and 2000) and two continental cups (the Copa Libertadores in 1998 and the Copa Mercosul in 2000), becoming a favourite of the Vasco fans.[citation needed]

Since that time he has been known as Reizinho de São Januário (The Little King of São Januário)[7] or Reizinho da Colina (The Little King of the Hill),[8] a reference to Vasco da Gama Stadium's name (São Januário) or nickname (Giant of the Hill). Although he left Vasco for Lyon after a judicial fight, he is still considered a favourite of Vasco fans.[9] Juninho has been cited in a classic chorus sang by the fans[10] remembering his free-kick goal against River Plate, at River Plate Stadium, during the 1998 Libertadores[11] which helped the club reach the finals against Barcelona de Guayaquil. Juninho played 295 games for Vasco from 1995–2001.


In 2001, Juninho moved abroad to play for French club Olympique Lyonnais. Before his arrival at Lyon, the club had never won the French Ligue 1 championship. In his first year at the club, the championship was secured, and it was subsequently won seven seasons in a row. At Lyon, Juninho made himself especially noted for his accurate, powerful and varied set pieces.

Regarded as one of the world's greatest free kick takers of the present day and possibly one of the greatest of all time, he is a noted passer, having provided many assists, and his leadership abilities prompted Lyon manager Gérard Houllier to name him team captain.

On 26 May 2009, Juninho announced that he would leave Lyon at the end of the season as a free agent. Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas explained to the media that the club and Juninho agreed to cancel the last year of his contract. During the press conference, Juninho sat next to Aulas and left the press conference without saying a word.[12][13]


On 17 June 2009, Juninho signed a two-year contract with Qatari club Al-Gharafa for a fee of €2.5 million.[14] In his first season with Al-Gharafa, Juninho captained the team to their seventh league title and wins in the Qatari Stars Cup and Qatar Crown Prince Cup, completing the treble. He finished the season with Player of the Year honours from the Qatar Football Association. Juninho played 66 games for Al-Gharafa Sports Club and scored 25 goals.

Return to Vasco da Gama[edit]

On 27 April 2011, Juninho rejoined his former club Vasco da Gama. He scored his first goal for them in his first game back, via a freekick against Corinthians. He scored another 2 free kicks and a penalty during the course of the Brazilian top flight season. He played his 300th game against São Paulo. On 28 March 2012 Juninho played and scored a goal for a 4-1 lead in Edmundo's farewell game against Barcelona Sporting Club. Vasco went on to win this game 9-1.[15] Juninho then scored a trademark free kick against Esporte Clube Bahia in the Fourth Round of the Campeonato Brasileiro; that goal was to be his 16th since returning to Vasco from Al-Gharafa Sports Club. In July 2012, Juninho extended his contract with Vasco for 6 months. On 18 July 2012, Juninho made his 350th appearance for Vasco against São Paulo FC. In August 2012 Juninho played against his youth team Sport Club do Recife and scored an amazing free kick goal, which was his 4th goal from free kicks in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A 2012. Carlos Tenorio scored the second goal of the match as Vasco won 0:2. Juninho has played in 370 official matches for Vasco scoring 88 goals.

New York Red Bulls[edit]

On 17 December 2012, Juninho signed for Major League Soccer team New York Red Bulls.[16] On 3 March 2013 Juninho made his official debut for New York starting for his new club in a 3-3 draw at Portland Timbers.[17] On 3 July 2013 NY Red Bulls announced that they reached an agreement with Juninho for the cancelation of his contract.[18]

Third stint with Vasco da Gama[edit]

On 11 July 2013, Vasco da Gama announced the return of Juninho to the club and he made his third debut for the team against rivals Fluminense on 21 July. Juninho scored and assisted in a 3–1 victory. He scored his first home goal against Criciúma with a 32-metre free kick, also assisting Edmilson dos Santos Silva for the third goal of the game. By the end of July 2013 Juninho had scored 2 goals and had made 2 assists since rejoining the club. Juninho played his third game for Vasco da Gama against another rival team Botafogo, setting up Andre for Vasco's first goal, in a 3–2 defeat. Juninho played his sixth game against Gremio and made another assist. It was his fourth assist in Campeonato Brasileiro. Juninho made his fifth assist against Sport Club Corinthians Paulista; the game ended in a 1–1 draw. Juninho played his 16th game against Vasco rivals Botafogo and made two assists; the game ended with a 2–2 draw after Botafogo had led 2–0. Juninho played 16 games for Vasco in his third stint with the club, scoring 2 goals and making 7 assists in the Campeonato Brasileiro. He retired from playing professional football on 2 February 2014.[19]

International career[edit]

Juninho made his debut for the Brazilian national team in 1999.

On 7 September 1999, he became one of the few footballers to have played two top-level matches in two different countries in the same day.[citation needed] He represented his country in the second half of the friendly match between Brazil and Argentina in Porto Alegre, which Brazil won 4–2, playing about fifteen minutes. In spite of a delayed flight to Montevideo, he still arrived in Uruguay in time to feature in the second half of the Copa Mercosur match between Vasco and Nacional.

Although Juninho had a period of prolonged domestic success, he was not selected in the Brazil squad for the 2004 Copa América.

In the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Juninho scored against Japan in a group stage match. Following Brazil's defeat in the quarter-finals of the tournament, he announced his international retirement, as to make way for younger talents coming through the ranks in Brazil to build for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Playing style[edit]

Juninho's free kick

Juninho has been described as "one of the world's most feared strikers of a static ball".[20] As of 17 May 2009, Juninho has scored 44 goals from direct free kicks for Olympique Lyonnais,[21] his last for the club being a strike from long distance against Olympique de Marseille. With his free kick in Champions League against FC Barcelona, he rewrote Olympique Lyonnais' record books as their highest ever European goal scorer with 17 goals.[22] The method he uses for long-range free kicks is frequently "knuckle balling," where the ball has almost no spinning motion during flight. A successful knuckle ball will "move" or "wobble" in the air unpredictably, making it difficult for the goalkeeper to save.[23] He first made his name as a free kick taker in Europe with a long range free kick against Bayern Munich in the 2003–04 champions league group stage in which the ball dipped viciously at the end of travel that deceived Bayern keeper Oliver Kahn, who was considered the best keeper in the world at the time. He was also the creator of the famous "shoot of the snake".

On 23 May, the day of his very last game for Lyon, Juninho reached the 100 goal landmark total overall goal tally for Lyon through a penalty kick against Caen. He has scored from free-kicks beyond 40 metres on four occasions: a 41-metre screamer against AC Ajaccio in 2006,[24] a 45-metre goal against Barcelona in 2007,[25] a 48-metre goal against OGC Nice in 2008, and a 40-metre strike against Marseille in 2009, this being his final free kick goal for Lyon.[26] Even before Lyon, he displayed his talent at Vasco da Gama, scoring several free kick goals for the club. Juninho has also scored memorable free kick goals for Brazil, the most famous being a curling shot from 27 metres against Greece in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. Brazil would go on to win the match 3–0. Also, Juninho scored two memorable free kicks against Nice in the 2008–09 season as Lyon were losing 2–0. Juninho rapidly pulled back his team by scoring one free kick that bounced past the goalkeeper and in the top corner and one from 48 yards away. Lyon went on to win that game as well with a converted penalty by Karim Benzema.[27] Juninho's style of freekick taking has been adapted by players such as Andrea Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba.[28] The knuckling ball technique takes a lot of skill to strike the ball that way and to aim it as a freekick. Juninho has 76 official goals from direct free kicks as of 2013.[29] Juninho is also known as a playmaker and for his ability to produce effective passes which leads him to getting assists on many teammates goals.[30] He assisted on 18 goals in the 2012 season in Brazil in all competitions.[citation needed]

Career statistics[edit]

Club career[edit]

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brazil League Copa do Brasil League Cup South America Total
1993 Sport Série A 2 0 2 0
1994 22 2 22 2
1995 Vasco da Gama Série A 21 4 21 4
1996 15 7 15 7
1997 18 4 18 4
1998 18 4 18 4
1999 17 2 17 2
2000 22 5 22 5
2001 0 0 0 0
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2001–02 Lyon Division 1 29 5 2 0 2 0 8 0 41 5
2002–03 Ligue 1 31 13 1 0 1 0 8 0 421 13
2003–04 32 10 3 2 0 0 10 5 461 17
2004–05 32 13 2 1 1 0 9 2 451 16
2005–06 32 9 4 1 0 0 8 4 44 14
2006–07 31 10 2 1 2 0 7 1 42 12
2007–08 32 8 4 2 2 0 8 3 46 13
2008–09 29 7 1 0 1 0 7 3 38 10
Qatar League Emir Cup Sheikh Jassem Cup Asia Total
2009–10 Al-Gharafa Stars League 21 7 1 0 2+4 0+3 6 0 34 10
2010–11 19 8 3 1 2+3 2+1 5 0 32 12
Brazil League Copa do Brasil League Cup South America Total
2011 Vasco da Gama Série A 21 4 5 1 26 5
2012 29 7 13 4 7 2 49 13
United States League US Open Cup MLS Cup Playoffs North America Total
2013 New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer 13 0 2 0 - - - - 15 0
Brazil League Copa do Brasil League Cup South America Total
2013 Vasco da Gama Série A 21 2 1 0 22 2
Country Brazil 206 41 14 4 12 3 416 883
France 248 75 19 7 9 0 65 18 3442 100
Qatar 40 15 4 1 4+7 2+4 11 0 66 22
United States 13 0 2 0 - - - - 15 0
Total 507 131 39 12 20 6 88 21 841 210
1Including 1 appearance in Trophée des Champions
2Total includes 3 appearances in Trophée des Champions in 2003, 2004 & 2005[31][32]
3Total includes all official matches and goals with Vasco (league, Copa do Brazil, libertadores, etc.)

International career[edit]



Brazil Sport

Brazil Vasco da Gama

France Olympique Lyonnais

Qatar Al-Gharafa


Brazil Brazil



  1. ^ "Juninho" (in Portuguese). CR Vasco da Gama. Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Brazil – Record International Players". Rsssf.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  3. ^ His nickname comes from a combination of the Brazilian diminutive "Juninho", which is commonly applied to any person with the name "Junior", and "Pernambucano", meaning someone born in the north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco. He is often referred to as "Pernambucano" in southern France.
  4. ^ Adam Axon (27 January 2009). "Top Ten Free Kick Specialists Of All Time". soccerlens.com. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  5. ^ R.B. "Juninho... ses chiffres lyonnais – Article – Accueil". Olweb.Fr. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Comentarista da Globo, Juninho Pernambucano “corneta” prêmio da ESPN". 
  7. ^ "<< Distintivos.Com.Br >>". Juninhopaulista.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "GloboEsporte.com na Copa do Mundo 2006 – Exclusivo: todos os jogos em vídeo ao vivo – ARTICLE IMPRIMIR – FERAS DO PARREIRA: Raio-X de Juninho Pernambucano". Globoesporte.globo.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "Juninho quer homenagear o Vasco". GloboEsporte.com.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ "Juninho Pernambucano agradece homenagem em música da torcida". SuperVasco.com.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  11. ^ . YouTube.com Monumental http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWhillbhaVc Monumental Check |url= value (help).  Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |publisher= (help)
  12. ^ "Juninho bids emotional goodbye to Lyon". Uefa.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Legend Juninho leaving Lyon". Fifa.com. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  14. ^ "Soccer-Brazil's Juninho joins Qatari champions Al Gharafa". Reuters. 18 June 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  16. ^ "Red Bulls Sign Brazilian Star Midfielder Juninho". newyorkredbulls.com. 17 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  17. ^ "Portland Timbers 3 New York Red Bulls 3". mlssoccer.com. 3 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Red Bulls Reach Mutual Agreement to Cancel Contract for Midfielder Juninho". newyorkredbulls.com. 3 July 2013. 
  19. ^ "Juninho chora no adeus e diz que já estuda convite da Globo para Copa - Futebol - UOL Esporte". 
  20. ^ "Who is the free-kick master?". FIFA.com. 30 October 2007. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  21. ^ "Accueil". Olweb.Fr. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  22. ^ "Accueil". Olweb.Fr. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  23. ^ "Who is the free-kick master?". FIFA.com. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2007.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  24. ^ "YouTube – Juninho Free Kick – Beautiful". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  25. ^ "Site officiel de l'Olympique Lyonnais". Olweb.Fr. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  26. ^ "YouTube – Juninho two new amazing free kicks in the same match!". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  27. ^ "YouTube – Juninho Goal VS Greece". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  28. ^ "Mestre de Pirlo, Juninho Pernambucano ensinou italiano a bater falta - Notícias - UOL Copa do Mundo 2014". 
  29. ^ {http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NesfdRNtwsE}
  30. ^ {http://www.footballteamplayers.com/juninho-pernambucano-biography.html}
  31. ^ "Juninho Pernambucano". National Football Teams. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  32. ^ "Football: Juninho.". Football Database EU. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 
  33. ^ "Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 1998–1999". Rsssfbrasil.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  34. ^ a b "Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 2000–2001". Rsssfbrasil.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  35. ^ a b c "Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 2002–2003". Rsssfbrasil.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  36. ^ a b "Seleção Brasileira (Brazilian National Team) 2004–2005". Rsssfbrasil.com. Retrieved 7 July 2010. 
  37. ^ a b Jogos Da Seleção Em 2005 Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  38. ^ Jogos Da Seleção Em 2006 Archived 11 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]