Match Worn Boots
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Antônio Augusto Ribeiro Reis Jr., commonly known as Juninho (Little Jr.) or Juninho Pernambucano, is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. Noted for his bending free kicks, he is widely considered to be one of the greatest dead-ball specialists of all time and holds the record for the highest number of goals scored through free kicks with 75, ahead of David Beckham who scored ten fewer. Juninho began his professional career in 1993 with Brazilian club Sport. Two years later he joined Vasco da Gama where he played over 100 matches and won no fewer than six titles. In 2001, he joined Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais where he played for the next eight years, winning seven consecutive league titles and scoring 100 goals in 350 official appearances for the club. Following his departure from Lyon in 2009, Juninho played in Qatar with Al-Gharafa and in the USA with New York Red Bulls, with the latter stint wedged between two spells back at Vasco, where he ultimately retired in 2013. Having made his international debut in 1999, Juninho played 40 games for the Brazilian national team and scored six goals. He represented Brazil at the 2001 Copa América and was part of the squad which won the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup before retiring from international football after the 2006 World Cup. Since 2013 Juninho has been a football commentator with Brazilian sports network Rede Globo.
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Juninho has been described as “one of the world’s most feared strikers of a static ball”. The method he uses for 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 goalkeeper to save. Juninho’s style of freekick taking has been adapted by players such as Andrea Pirlo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba. The knuckling ball technique takes a lot of skill to strike the ball that way and to aim it as a freekick. Juninho has 76 official goals from direct free kicks as of 2013. Juninho is also known as a playmaker and for his ability to produce effective passes which leads him to getting assists on many teammates goals. He assisted on 18 goals in the 2012 season in Brazil in all competitions.