Juninho admits failing body forced retirement

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 4: Former Brazil international midfielder Juninho admitted that his failing body had forced him to end his 20-year-professional career.

Less than a week after telling Vasco da Gama officials of his wish to retire, Juninho made the decision official during a press conference Monday in Rio de Janeiro, reported Xinhua.

“I don’t have much to say, only to show my appreciation,” Juninho said.

“I decided to stop because after my last injury (in November), I decided to retire. I recovered and was convinced to do the pre-season so that I could play in the state championship.”

“(But) When training was more intense, I struggled to back up the next day. After training with the group I needed two days to recover. I explained my decision to stop to the coaching staff last week after speaking about it with my family. When you can’t go on (training) like that, you have to stop.”

Juninho, is considered one of football’s greatest dead-ball specialists.

Most of his 137 career goals came from free-kicks, including 75 from 248 appearances for Lyon, where he won seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles from 2002 to 2008.

He also earned 40 caps for Brazil and represented the Selecao at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

“I want to thank Vasco, but my best form was at Lyon,” the 39-year-old said.

“I managed to play at a high level there and it was my time at Vasco beforehand that prepared me for that.”

He said he hoped to keep involved in football and revealed having received an offer to comment during this year’s World Cup in Brazil.

“I don’t see myself outside of football. For now I just want to enjoy some time off and then come back,” Juninho said.

“I would like to be a manager, but with the right project. I have been invited to commentate at the World Cup by (television station) Globo. We haven’t established anything yet, but we have spoken. We’ll see when the World Cup comes.”

IANS