Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior
|Full name||Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior|
|Date of birth||29 June 1954|
|Place of birth||João Pessoa, Brazil|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 7 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Left back, Midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior (born 29 June 1954), known simply as Júnior or Léo Júnior, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a left back or midfielder. He was nicknamed "capacete" ("helmet", in Portuguese) because of his afro hairstyle. He competed in the men's tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Júnior played for Flamengo during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, winning four Brazilian Championships (1980, 1982, 1983, 1992), the 1981 Copa Libertadores and 1981 Intercontinental Cup. With 857 matches, he is the player with most appearances for Flamengo.
On 12 June 1984 he was bought by Torino, for a fee of two million dollars. Júnior asked and obtained a guarantee to play as a midfielder rather than a full-back, because he considered the former role less stressful, so to extend the life of his career. Although he was now thirty years old, after some initial difficulties, he succeeded in integrating in the formation coached by Luigi Radice, becoming the leader of the midfield. During his first year in Italy was the victim of two incidents of racism: in Milan he was repeatedly insulted and spat upon as he left the stadium with his mother and father and in Turin, on the occasion of the derby, Juventus fans exhibited offensive banners on the colour of his skin. The Torino supporters responded promptly with another banner: "Better negro than Juventino". At the end of the season, finished second behind Verona, he was awarded Serie A's player of the year.
During his time with "Toro" he was also given the affectionate nickname of "papà Júnior", due to his elder appearance. He remained in Turin until 1987, when he had a fallout with the manager Radice. The coach believed the performance of the Brazilian lower than that of the first season, while Júnior was particularly annoyed for being substituted during a UEFA Cup tie against HNK Hajduk Split, which culminated with the elimination of the team.
He also took part in many Beach Soccer World Championships as part of the Brazilian national team, winning awards for top scorer and best player. Overall Júnior played for Brazil beach soccer between 1993 and 2001, notching up 201 goals during those years, including 71 goals at the World Championships. He stopped playing to pursue the development of the sport.
Style of play
Júnior was known for his technique and teamwork as well as his versatility, playing at left back and on the left side of midfield for Brazil due to his two footedness (despite being naturally right footed) whilst often playing as a central midfielder or deep-lying playmaker at club level; he was also capable of playing on the right flank, and initially started out as an attacking right-back. He was as capable of "orchestrating attacking moves as fulfilling his defensive remit." In addition to his playmaking skills, he was highly regarded for his elegance, leadership, and tactical intelligence, as well as his ability to get forward, provide precise crosser for his teammates, or strike on goal. Moreover, he was also an accurate free kick and penalty taker.
|Club Performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Brazil||League||Copa do Brasil||League Cup||South America||Total|
|Italy||League||Coppa Italia||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|Brazil||League||Copa do Brasil||League Cup||South America||Total|
- Intercontinental Cup – 1981
- Libertadores Cup – 1981
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A – 1980, 1982, 1983, 1992
- Brazil Cup 1990
- Mitropa Cup – 1991
- 1982 FIFA World Cup: Round 2 (Fifth place)
- 1983 Copa América – Runner-up
- 1986 FIFA World Cup: Quarter-finals (Fifth place)
- Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team
- Bola de Ouro Brazilian Footballer of the Year
- South American Team of the Year
- Beach Soccer World Championship: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
- Copa América: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
- Beach Soccer World Championship Top Scorer:
- 1997 – 11 goals
- 1998 – 14 goals
- 1999 – 10 goals
- 2000 – 13 goals
- Beach Soccer World Championship Best Player: 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000
- Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro Lance Volume 1. Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A. 2001. p. 103. ISBN 85-88651-01-7.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Júnior (Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior)". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on December 3, 2016. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
- "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC. March 4, 2004. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- Pereira, Mauro Cezar. "Mais Sobre Flamengo" (in Portuguese). ESPN Brasil. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- "Junior, from the pitch to the box". FIFA. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
- Napoleão, Antônio Carlos; Assaf, Roberto (2006). Seleção Brasileira 1914–2006. São Paulo: Mauad X. p. 268. ISBN 85-7478-186-X.
- "Brazil's World Cup squad 1982". Planet World Cup. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- "Brazil's World Cup squad 1986". Planet World Cup. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
- "From the sand to the lawns: Junior class and strength". MIS MUSEUM IMAGE AND SOUND. June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- "Principais artilheiros dos mundiais (Mínimo de 10 gols)" (in Portuguese). beachsoccerbrasil.com.br. 2001. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- "Júnior detona confederação de beach soccer". band.com.br. October 31, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Junior, from the pitch to the box FIFA.com
- "PAPA' JUNIOR" (in Italian). La Repubblica. September 20, 1987. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Guido De Luca (June 18, 2008). "Leo Junior approda al Toro" (in Italian). www.toronews.net. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- GIANNI MURA (November 3, 2006). "Falcao, Careca e altri maestri la top ten dei nostri brasiliani" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- Andrea Nocini (September 20, 2012). "IL PELE'...JUNIOR" (in Italian). www.pianeta-calcio.it. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
- "Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
- FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
- "South American Team of the Year". January 16, 2009. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved October 25, 2015.
- "Junior completa 58 anos de idade e recebe o carinho do Flamengo". Site Oficial do Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. June 29, 2012. Retrieved November 24, 2015.
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