Aulas close to appointing Juninho as Lyon sporting director

The former midfielder, a famous free-kick specialist, is close to being appointed at boardroom level, according to the club's president

Juninho is close to being appointed the new sporting director at Lyon, according to the club's president Jean-Michel Aulas.

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The former Brazil international played for the Ligue 1 club between 2001 and 2009 during their most successful era, the midfielder featuring for Vasco da Gama over two spells in his homeland before retiring in 2013.

Juninho was one of Lyon's star names as the club dominated French football in the 2000s, winning seven league titles in a row, while he also claimed the Coupe de France once.

And Aulas believes the 42-year-old, who was renowned as one of the world's finest free-kick specialists in his playing days, can be persuaded to take the sporting director post at Lyon.

"We are not far from succeeding. At least I hope so," Aulas said on Friday. "I'm hopeful of bringing Juninho back. We have been talking to him for a month.

"We are doing everything to convince him. He is a talented, thoughtful boy. He asks a lot of questions. We are working to define the elements that should enable him to give us an agreement in the coming days.

"He left part of his heart in Lyon, where the public adored him. It would be a win-win for him and the club. I think he really wants [to return], his wife also. If he returns, it is to win and carry Lyon to the highest level.

"It would be a new pressure. He has to make an internal and family choice to go 'into business' and live with the pressure related to coaches or leaders."