Antônio Augusto Ribeiro Reis Junior (born January 30, 1975 in Recife), commonly known as Juninho or Juninho Pernambucano, is a Brazilian football player, who plays as an attacking midfielder for French club Olympique Lyonnais. He scored seven goals in 44 games for the Brazilian national team, before retiring from international football after the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
After a long period of tests , and a time in the futsal (indoor football ) of Sport Recife , he started his career in 1993 . Soon he was in the main team of Sport Recife , with other members of the so called " Gold Generation of the Futsal" , with other great players that had come as well from the indoors . Soon in 94 Juninho found himself , along with Sport champion , winning the Campeonato Pernambucano and the Copa do Nordeste . He managed to perform a lot of remarkable games , including the 5-2 in the sao paulo , of Tele Santana , World Champion in 93 . Juninho left Sport Recife , but never denied loving it since he was a kid , when he saw Sport Recife , win the Brazilian Championship of 1987.
He moved to CR 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. In that time, he was part of a incredible forward squad, playing with some top level international players, as Romário, Edmundo, Juninho Paulista, Felipe and Pedrinho. He made his debut for the Brazilian national team in 1999.
On September 7 1999, Juninho became the first football player to play two top-level matches in two different countries in the same day. He represented his country in the second half of the friendly 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.
In 2001, Juninho moved abroad to play for French club Olympique Lyonnais (Lyon). 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. Juninho has also been regarded as the worlds greatest free kick taker of the present day and of all time. In addition, he is an effective passer, having provided many assists, and his leadership abilities have prompted Lyon manager Gérard Houllier to name him team captain.
Juninho represented Brazil at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 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. Juninho has been nominated many times for FIFA World Player of the Year award and France Football Ballon d'Or but has still not won it.
Juninho has been described as "one of the world's most feared strikers of a static ball.As of September 13, 2007, Juninho has scored 39 goals from direct free kicks for Olympique Lyonnais .The method he uses for hitting 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 goal keeper to save. .He has scored from free-kicks beyond 40 yards in three occasions: a 41 meter screamer against AC Ajaccio in 2006, a 45 meter goal against F.C.Barcelona in 2007. and a 48 meter goal against OGC Nice in 2008 .Even before Lyon, he showcased his talent in Vasco, scoring several free kick goals for the club. Juninho has also scored memorable free kick goals for Brazil the most famous been a curling shot from 27 metres against Greece in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. Brazil would go on to win the match 3-0.
Before joining Lyon, Juninho played for Vasco da Gama in Brazil's Série A. While there, he won the Brazilian Championship twice (1997, 2000) and two continental cups (the Copa Libertadores in 1998 and the Copa Mercosur in 2000), becoming a favorite of the Vasco fans.
Since that time he has been known as "Reizinho de São Januário" (The Little King of São Januário) or "Reizinho da Colina" (The Little King of The Hill), a reference to Vasco da Gama Stadium's name (São Januário) or nickname (Stadium of The Hill). Although he left the club after a judicial fight, when he went to Lyon team, he still is a favorite of Vasco fans , been citated in a classic chorus of them , where remember his free-kick goal against River Plate, at Monumental de Núñez, in 1998 Libertadores that helped the club to go to the final against Barcelona de Guayaquil.