Red Bulls, Juninho 'mutually agree' to cancel contract

USA TODAY Sports

And thus ends the not-so-long and not-so-illustrious MLS career of the man best known for his free kicks.

This probably won't come as a huge shock, but the New York Red Bulls and Juninho have "mutually agreed" to cancel the 38-year-old's contract. After coming into the league with a good deal of fanfare, Juninho had started to show some frustrations in recent weeks and had not played in either of the Red Bulls' last two games.

"We are very disappointed that Juninho has decided to return to Brazil because he is a great professional and a very talented footballer," Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh said in a team release. "We wish him all of the best and thank him for his valuable contributions during the first half of the 2013 MLS campaign."


Juninho, who is best known for his spectacular free kicks, never seemed to entirely adapt to MLS's unique challenges. Although he finishes his MLS career with a respectable four assists, he never created the kind of danger the Red Bulls were hoping he would when they combined him with the likes of Thierry Henry.

But there were signs things were not going as planned when he complained about the technical quality of the league and his teammates to a French publication.

"In the United States, football is a little different," he told RMCSport. "The technical quality of my club is not fantastic. I thought we were stronger. Currently, we are third. We must finish in the top four to play the playoffs. At the organizational level, this is the top. At the physical level, it is impressive. At the technical level, this is comparable to the Ligue 2 in France."

Juninho first made his name with Brazil's Vasco de Gama and then France's Lyon, where he scored a combined 101 goals from 1995-2009.

At the time of the announcement, it was unclear if the Red Bulls would receive any salary cap relief as part of the transaction.

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