The 37-year-old Brazilian, World Cup veteran and free kick specialist joins the MLS side from Vasco de Gama.Major League Soccer may have lost a 37-year-old dead ball specialist in David Beckham, but it gained another on Monday with the New York Red Bulls' signing of Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano.
The Red Bulls added the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lyon and Brazilian top-flight veteran after a lengthy bout of speculation that the club would be acquiring his services. Based on a team statement, Juninho does not appear to be a Designated Player signing, which means the Red Bulls still have a third DP slot vacant after the departure of Rafa Marquez. Terms of the deal were not disclosed per league and team policy.
"Juninho is a world-class player who our global sporting director, Gerard Houllier, and I have known and admired for many years," Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a team-issued release. "Aside from being a top dead-ball specialist and a tremendous talent, Juninho is a fantastic professional both on and off the field."
Juninho, a central midfielder known for his free kicks, played under Houllier at Lyon from 2005-07 and was with the French club from 2001-09. His 100 goals with Lyon are fourth-most in the club's history. He was most recently with Brazilian side Vasco de Gama for a second stint after playing there prior to his Lyon days. Juninho will turn 38 next month, but Roxburgh appears confident in his new signing's ability to still compete at a high level.
"He is in great physical shape, and we think he can make a positive impact for us in 2013," Roxburgh said.