THE STORY OF A LEGEND
Born Osvaldo Giroldo Junior on 22[SUP]nd[/SUP] February 1973 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he stands at 5ft 5in and is better known as Juninho Paulista or simply JUNINHO.
Juninho began his Career at Ituano Youth, impressing Sao Paulo coach Tele Santana in a match against them, he won rookie of the 1993 Brazilian Championship before making the move to Sao Paulo, where he won the Copa Libertodores and the Intercontinental Cup v AC Milan. He made his Brazil debut in February 1995 and won Brazilian Player of the Year.
A host of top European Clubs were chasing him,i ncluding Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, but Juninho shocked the World when he signed for Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough for a fee of £4.75m in October 1995. The TLF (the little fella) as he is known on Teesside, is regarded as one of the greatest ever players to have worn a Boro shirt in the Modern era.
Juninho’s first full season at Middlesbrough was eventful, having been defeated in both the League Cup Final and the FA Cup Final, the team was relegated on the Final day of the season, due to a harsh 3 point deduction imposed by the English FA.
Following relegation and to increase his chances of being selected for the Brazil squad for the 1998 World Cup, Juninho moved to Atletico Madrid for a fee of £12m, which remains a record sale for a Middlesbrough player. Things started well in Madrid until a Broken Fibula ruled him out for 6 months, thus missing the World Cup in 1998. On his return, the player struggled for form and was loaned back to Middlesbrough for theremainder of the 1999/2000 season making 24 appearances scoring 4 goals. Atletico were relegated on Juninho’s return and was again loaned out, this time he returned to Brazil with Vasco da Gama, where he won the Brazilian Serie A.
Juninho re-signed for Middlesbrough on a permanent basis for £6m in the summer of 2002, starting his 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] spell at the Club he loves. During the 2 years back at Boro, he helped the team lift the first trophy in their 128 year history, beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 at The Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to win the English League cup. Juninho would later go on to say that winning the Cup with Middlesbrough meant more to him than winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.
On leaving Boro, he had spells at Celtic, of Scotland, and then returned to Brazil with Palmeiras, before heading to Australia to have a stint with Sydney FC. Having not been offered a new contract in 2008, Juninho retired from Football and returned to Brazil. In 2010 however, he briefly came out of retirement in a Player/President role for his first club, Ituano, dramatically scoring the goal which enabled the club to avoid relegation in the final game of the season.
In 2012 Juninho announced he would be entering the World of Football Management and was in talks with several clubs about taking over as manager. He will remain President of Ituano during this time.
JUNINHO CAREER STATS