This might not be on Major League Soccer’s Christmas list, but it would make a heck of a stocking stuffer.
A rumor reported (in Portuguese) has former Lyon icon Juninho Pernambucano landing in Harrison next season, with his former head coach at Lyonnais, Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer Gerard Houllier, eager to bring the free kick master to Major League Soccer.
And when I say free kick master, I mean congratulations, your life just changed forever:
I don’t know which one I like more. The one where Oliver Kahn almost impales himself on the right post? The slow-mo capture of the shot with almost zero spin (literally)? Or the 112 goals from 40 yards out into the upper corners? (Don’t bother counting. I’m right.)
The guy makes Beckham look like a potser.
Currently with Vasco de Gama in Brazil, the 37-year-old has been rumored to be leaving the Rio-based club. Officials at Vasco say they won’t let him leave to another club in Brazil. Given the Houllier connection, New York seems as logical a place as … well, almost any other club in the world. This is, after all, just a rumor.
The thing about Juninho, at this point in his career, is that he doesn’t go much else, and in a league where fitness, athleticism, strength, and industry are staples in every team, the central midfielder will likely see his contributions mitigated in open play.
There’s also the little matter of New York having three Designated Players on the books. Until they pass off Rafa Marquez’s millstone, Juninho can’t come.
Add in the fact that New York doesn’t even have a coach and the frequent use of big MLS markets as leverage in contract negotiations, there isn’t much cause for optimism. Sorry, friends. Christmas may never come.
Still, if Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam’s corner kicks are worth £13 million alone (as Sir Alex Ferguson once said, presumably with a straight face), Juninho is at least worth some kind of Designated Player deal. If Beckham’s still a plus-contributor for the Galaxy, Juninho can be one for New York.