Juninho Paulista: Ending the Fairy Tale
Today, Juninho Paulista stated his firm desire to return once more to his beloved club, Middlesbrough, to end his brilliant career.
The miniature man has played during three storybook spells at the Riverside, winning the Carling Cup in 2003.
The Brazilian said after the final that the victory meant more to him than the World Cup triumph with Brazil in 2002 did.
Such displays of passion for the English outfit were not uncommon to the midfielder who was always publicly stating throughout his career his nostalgic love for the small northern outfit.
Juninho's idiosyncratic offensive style and world-class ball skills, coupled with his humble and affable demeanor, often make his jersey the most sought after for opposing players after matches.
And today the Brazilian told BBC, "Before I finish my career I would like to wear a Middlesbrough shirt again and play in front of the crowd," adding, "...when I think of the good memories I think of all the supporters shouting my name."
Those good memories are surely reciprocated by Boro fans who, in a 2007 PFA poll, voted the diminutive genius as their club's best ever player.
A fairy tale ending is surely in the cards, with former teammate and forever friend Gareth Southgate currently managing the Premiership side.
The match, whether testimonial or, more dramatically, competitive, depending on whether or not the aging Brazilian signs officially for the club, will be one all modern football fans can enjoy.
Because class, and the bright, flowing expression of it is an art form very few players each generation are naturally capable of, but Juninho is one of its surest artists.
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