Tuesday 08 October 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Newly promoted Barclays Premier League side Middlesbrough completed the signing of 22-year-old Brazilian starlet Juninho from Sao Paolo.
The diminutive playmaker’s arrival instantly captured the imagination of the Boro fans, and in his first season he made a big impression, helping Bryan Robson’s side finish 12th in their first campaign after promotion.
Juninho linked up with former Juventus forward Fabrizio Ravanelli in the 1996/97 campaign and the trio helped Middlesbrough reach the League Cup and FA Cup finals with an exciting brand of attacking football. The Brazilian scored 15 goals in 47 appearances across all competitions to earn cult hero status with the fans, but could not prevent the Teesiders from defeat in both finals and getting relegated on the final day of the season. Juninho's goal in a 1-1 draw against Leeds United in the final match of that Barclays Premier League season was not enough, and Atletico Madrid secured his services in July 1997.
But the player, who was voted the club’s best ever by the fans, returned to Middlesbrough for a loan spell during the 1999/00 campaign, with the club back in the Barclays Premier League. He scored four goals in 22 league appearances as Boro finished 12th and, after spells at Vasco de Gama and Flamengo in his native Brazil, Juninho re-signed permanently for Middlesbrough in August 2002 - his third and final spell at the club.
The move came after he played in Brazil’s victory over Germany in the 2002 FIFA World Cup final. In his third spell at the Riverside Stadium, Juninho helped the club make history by winning their first piece of major silverware, the League Cup, with a 2-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers in 2004.
Overall, the midfielder played 125 times in the Barclays Premier League, scoring 29 goals.
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