Report: Juninho going back to Sao Paulo


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The Los Angeles Galaxy appear to be on the verge of losing one of the key pieces to their championship squad.

According to multiple reports out of Brazil, midfielder Juninho is signing a three-year contract with Sao Paulo and rejoining the club after two seasons on loan with the Galaxy. For the Galaxy to have retained Juninho, they would have had to pay a transfer fee to Sao Paulo.

"Juninho has an offer. He knows where we stand," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena told reporters last week. "[Sao Paulo] knows that, his agent knows that. They just have to make a decision as to what they want to do."

In his two seasons in MLS, Juninho established himself as one of the league's more steady central midfielders, capable of scoring from distance while managing the game, breaking up opposing attacks and providing a hefty work rate while flying under the radar as the likes of Landon Donovan, David Beckham and Robbie Keane garnered the headlines.

The Galaxy have yet to officially release any new information about Juninho's future with the club. They did sign Brazilian central midfielder Marcelo Sarvas from Alajuelense last week, someone who can provide cover if Juninho does indeed head back to Sao Paulo for good.

What do you think of this development? How big of a loss would this be for the Galaxy?

Share your thoughts below.

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57 Responses to Report: Juninho going back to Sao Paulo

  1. Dinosaur soldier says:


  2. Zac says:

    Ouch, that will hurt.

  3. Colin says:

    Huge loss. He was my MVP for this season.

  4. kahlva says:

    How MLS is structured – the small salary cap – has positives and negatives.

    This is one of the big negatives. If an under-the-radar player performs well, he’ll leave. MLS can’t compete with transfer fees/salary offers from abroad.

  5. Red Bulls Fan says:

    well that sucks.

  6. Tyler says:

    Juninho would be a great candidate young DP candidate for a team that had the cash to pay Sao Paulo’s valuation

  7. Tyler says:

    Yuck sentence errors. Lets try that again.

    Juninho would be a great young DP candidate for a team that had the cash to pay Sao Paulo’s valuation.

  8. acj says:

    That’s less a problem with the salary cap than it is with the revenue that the teams take in. Even if teams were unrestrained by the salary cap they wouldn’t be able to both break even and still be able to afford to hold onto their top young players.

    If we want this to change we should bring a friend to a game or try and convince someone who only follows European leagues to support their local team.

  9. whatupfans says:

    my sentiments 1000% acj. we need to step up as MLS/US fans. we can’t complain when we can’t even fill up small 20,000 seat stadiums around the country or even support the national team against regional rivals. secondary problem is lack of outstanding home grown players. Not enough difference makers are coming thru.

    Having said all that, kudos to MLS for outstanding achievements under Garber’s guidance. Amazing what has transpired in face of continued apathy from different fronts.

  10. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    This is one of the problems with building a team from “loan” players….and I’ll agree a ‘big’ loss fro the Gals. They may very well start the season with brand new mid-fielders…not where you want to be competing for the Concacaf champtionship

  11. karlitros says:

    He provides an example of the benefit/detriment of taking players on loan from bigger clubs. Let’s face it, the brasilian league is superior. Galaxy and Sao Paulo both benefited from the loan and in the end tf LA wanted to keep him, they could have paid the transfer fee. They chose not to. That’s how international soccer works.

  12. Andrew says:

    Juninho’s a bigger loss than Beckham would be, IMHO. It was Juninho’s composure on the ball, unusual for a defensive midfielder, that gave the rest of the midfield the freedom to create. And he may have been the most important component of LA’s defense: the 2011 Galaxy definitely subscribed to the theory that possession is the best defense.

  13. iheartubuntu says:

    Yah, he is going to be missed for sure. I dont know why, but many of his goals and work rate he always seemed surprised by. I always had this feeling he was thinking “wow! did i do that?” and if thats the case, he is not going to do as good elsewhere. Instead he will be saying “wow! do i get to play today?”

  14. KenC says:

    He just signed a 3-yr extension. When was he supposed to be out-of-contract? Probably not more than 6 months to a year, as extensions are usually signed in the last year, and he couldn’t have been on anything much more than a few years initially? Why did he sign an extension, he might have been able to get away on a free.

  15. MC Pharaoh says:

    If LA cant rap him up. MLS should try to buy him & put some sort of lottery on him. That would be nice to see because you just hate to see rare young talent leave the league like that.
    I will remind you all that these are just reports btw. The report that started it all from what I saw wasnt that reliable & this is not a done deal right now. This report may end up being similar to the reports that came out a few days ago saying Beckham signed with PSG.
    This is a player you completely didnt want to lose if you are Bruce Arena & it also probably counts Beckham out aswell. He wont want to return if Juninho isnt next to him with that nonstop engine. The likeliness of finding someone under the DP rule as effective as Juninho is at winning the ball & distributing is going to be highly unlikely. He is the most important player to keep this offseason for LA. Dont count LA & Juninho out just yet…

  16. Jah says:

    “Put a lottery on him”

    Guess who will win that lottery?

    LA gets enough breaks

  17. PetedeLA says:

    Unsung hero.

    Keep this player!!!!!!!!

    One of the best all around central midfielders.

    Arggghhhh! I don’t want this to happen!!

    Take Beckham, Take Donovan even.

    Just don’t take Juninho.

    He – is – class!!!

  18. Gnarls says:

    The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. I’m as devastated as any Galaxy fan, but I’m not at all surprised. The league’s absurd salary cap rules made his future outside MLS all but certain. On the bright side, those of us who saw Juninho on the pitch regularly or had the good fortune of meeting him will be happy for his success. He demonstrated his value to Sao Paulo and reaped the benefits. I hope he sees even a fraction of the playing time he got with LA.

  19. Gnarls says:

    Haha, I feel like we’re at a funeral and we’re all mourning a loss. There, there, Pete. There, there.

  20. Gnarls says:

    I agree to the extent that fans need to step up. Renew season tickets, bring friends, bring family, spam facebook friends whenever your team does something noteworthy.

    That said, teams with the financial wherewithal to keep high priced talent should be given more flexibility. LA is the closest thing to an American superclub. More star power at marquee teams will drum up more buzz for the league at large. Keeping the Gals, New York and Seattle under the same salary constraints as New England, Colorado and Columbus is myopic at best.

  21. CrazyMike366 says:

    I was under the impression that LA moved Ricketts along and are trying to restructure their contracts with Hejduk, Robinson, and the solid vets they picked up in the Re-entry Draft to try to free up salary space to afford Juninho.

    I’d be disappointed to see him go, he’s been one of my favorite players the past couple seasons. Maybe Mikey Stephens can get more minutes if they can’t re-sign Juninho, which wouldn’t be that bad.

  22. CrazyMike366 says:

    Also, if you watch Brasil Serie A, how much better is it than MLS or Mexico? Is there a European league its comparable to…maybe Holland?

  23. PetedeLA says:

    “Keeping the Gals, New York and Seattle under the same salary constraints as New England, Colorado and Columbus is myopic at best.”

    Ehmm… I kind of see what you’re saying, but if we did what you propose, teams like San Jose and Chivas would have little hope of even making the playoffs.

    I like things the way they are. Three DP’s and gradual increases to the salary cap make sense to me.

    If I were Don Garber (or whoever is ultimately responsible) I’d get whatever I can out of a Donovan sell, and make sure to keep Juninho and the rest of the supporting cast.

    As others have mentioned, a good product is out there. There were some AMAZING goals scored this season. It’s up to us as fans to fill the seats.

    As a Galaxy fan, I’d feel a lot better if they made a shuttle service from the subway.

    Who wants to pay $15 to park?

  24. jamil says:

    i hope he does well at sao paulo so more young brazilians give mls a shot.

  25. John says:

    LA has the possibility of being in extreme rebuilding mode next year if Franklin, Juninho, Ricketts, Gonzalez and Beckham are all gone. I know they still got Keane and maybe Donovan.

  26. Supsam says:

    i wonder how much of a transfer fee Sao Paolo wanted for Juninho? I thought the way MLS works, teams can only take in players on loan with an option to buy so the galaxy already knew what price Sao Paulo wanted before the galaxy took Juninho on loan for the second season…Did the Galaxy try to lowball Sao Paulo when it came to a transfer fee?

  27. Supsam says:

    maybe the Galaxy irked Sao Paolo by asking for a third loan stint haha

  28. Supsam says:

    like when LA got a break when Gonzo got a phantom call for Davies’s dive? Enough with the league conspiracies (and this is coming from a quakes fan). La won the title because of Arena and his team, not because the league already planned it.

  29. Joseph D'Hippolito says:


  30. Edwin in LA says:

    They don’t make money off a shuttle service.

    They should talk to MTA about coordinating better on game days which is usually every saturday since when LA is on the road, Chivas is usually playing at home….

    And Btw I was talking about a coordination to the Artesia transit center. No subway but close enough. The Grey Line jumps on the 110 freeway, doesn’t even use the street and stops momentarily on a few main Boulevards and avenues, then when you get to Downtown USC area it goes down Figeroa starting at the Coliseum, I can live with that, it takes about 15-20 minutes to get from Artesia Ctr to Downtown where i can take the red line or Gold Line or even when they open it up you could take the new line opening up towards Culver City, that 1 you can take at USC on Fig tho…

    We need to fill up the HDC next year, even if Beckham is gone. Gotta step up!

  31. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    Supsam, I wouldn’t be surprised at that, given the way AEG works.

  32. BrownChickenBrownCow says:

    Wow, and it looked like Seattle was the team that got raided the most this off season. If they lose Gonzalez, Backham, possibly Landy, and now Juninho they are going to have to spend some major $$$ to reload. They dont have the bench to make up for this much attrition.

  33. Edwin in LA says:

    It has to do with the salary cap, I believe teams take a hit for big transfer fees, I’m going to ask Ives for an explanation on this but for example with Alvaro Fernandez he was considered a DP because of the Transfer Fee Seattle paid.

    LA probably wants to keep the DP slot open for a replacement to Beckham or if for some reason he was to stay to keep him. If Donovan was sold to Everton I would say jump all over this, but it could just be Sao Paulo’s fee is to high for LA’s liking….

    I am going to try to find out how much the fee and his new contract pays..

  34. Edwin in LA says:

    Seriously get over yourself and your sorry team already!

    Props to Supsam for recognizing this and a Quakes fan too, I don’t care what Houston, RSL, Seattle or even recently NY & Dallas fans may think.

    Nobody has as deep rooted rivalry & dislike, notice it’s not actual hate just dislike, for the Galaxy than the Earthquakes. Hell even with Houston they have as much against LA being as how AEG owned all of the Quakes when they moved them to Houston.

    LA Suffered the 1st 2 years or year and a half Beckham was there.

    Is not like they were the ONLY team to benefit from the DP rule. Chicago, NY, Columbus, Seattle, Dallas and other teams now benefit from it. RSL might of not been able to keep Saborio were it not for the DP rule. Get over it already, the League has not been favoring LA at all, if anything LA has pushed the league to change it’s salary structure to help bring better players to MLS!

  35. Edwin in LA says:

    Why would Gonzalez be gone? I read someone in an earlier post that someone said something about Gonzalez to an English club, which far from possible unless he has some ties in Spain, which from what I recall he’s parents of Mexican descent. He hasn’t had more than 2 caps, no where near enough for a UK work permit, he’s signed for a few more years from his original GA contract, he’s not going anywhere, Ricketts is gone to have cap room, Saunders will fight him and others for Best keeper in MLS next year, Franklin is close to resigning according to Ives post after announcing the possible loss of Juninho

    Stephens might be a good option, and Lopez and Cardozo still haven’t reached their potential!

  36. Warren says:

    Better than Holland.

    Santos lost to Barcelona 4-0 in Club World Cup the other day. So the best Brazilian squads are – better than low-end Spanish clubs. Since Messi humiliates them by more than 4 goals regularly : )

    Though official league rankings and Eurosnobs say the Brazilian league – where many of their stars come from – is inferior. But Brazil’s growing economy is narrowing salary differential. Many young stars of Brazilian World Cup squad like Neymar are staying home in the lead up to WC 2014.

    My 2 cents

  37. Warren says:

    Would MLS do that? Yeah they would.

  38. georg says:

    Sorry for L.A. maybe they can again lobby for a rule change, 4 Dp’s?

    Pay Keane, Donovan, Beckham, guess there is not much left to pay real talent.

  39. beachbum says:

    S T A Y


  40. Geeps says:

    Galaxy and other teams take chance with loan players. And losing big names is part of soccer. Provides cash and new talent. A needed part of the sport. In a year or two, we will forget about Juninho, just like we forgot about others before him. MLS is growing. A bit slow for some, but it’s about right. We need to keep supporting MLS and I have gut feel in 2-5 years it will double as it has in last 5-years. Sao Paolo and other clubs will see MLS as good proving ground and we’ll get more. Hopefully it will eventually be comparable in terms of talent, opportunity and money. But starts with loyal fan base.

  41. abc says:

    That is a huge blow for both the LA Galaxy and MLS.

    One of two things need to happen if the transfer fee would put Juninho in DP money:

    1) MLS needs to buy him for some other team as a DP, just to keep him in the league, and they can “trade” some compensation to the Galaxy

    2) MLS needs to change their rules so transfer fees don’t count as salary. That would both make more sense, and bring more good young talent too MLS. It’s ridiculous that guys who make $50k-100k are DPs because of transfer fees.

  42. Adam M. says:

    Its well ahead of MLS or Mexico, typically dominates the Copa Liberatadores (even if a Brazilian side doesn’t always win), and a couple of times has knocked off Europe in the Club World Cup. There is no Barca or Madrid there, but I’d think many of the top table teams in a given year would compete for Europa league spots in England and Spain. Example for MLS fans is that David Ferreira, who would become MLS MVP, was an good if not spectacular player for mid-table Atletico Paranaense before he went to Dallas. There are a lot of players ike him in Brazil who few outside of Brazil have ever heard of. Another example is Juninho, who couldn’t crack Sao Paulo’s lineup.

  43. Adam M. says:

    Real story here is that Brazil’s economy means that it can compete for players that it wouldn’t have kept before. Add China, Russia, and the oil rich nations and clubs, and suddenly the notion of DPs and salary caps looks a littile shortsighted if you want talent to come here or stay here. MLS isn’t living in the same world as it did when these rules were created.

  44. soccerhorn says:

    You got it.

  45. abc says:

    There have always been other countries with more money than MLS, and that will remain the case for the foreseeable future. The salary cap is not shortsighted, it’s what keeps MLS alive, unlike the NASL. Even with the salary cap the vast majority of teams are losing money.

  46. MASE NJRB says:

    So the best Brazilian squads are – better than low-end Spanish clubs. Since Messi humiliates them by more than 4 goals regularly…It was 4-0 but it could’ve easily have been 6 or 7, lets not kid ourselves, FCB had like 80% poss, game was a joke.Dutch league> Brasil NJRB>Santos Neymar

  47. Mase NJRB says:

    Why is everyone worried? If anyone can replace losing a player like Juninho, its LA. Im sure that had a play in letting him go.LA will always have the limit of DP’s and star power b/c of ownership. On the attendance front, why is everyone worried about this 2? They avg’d well b4 Becks and most likely after, avg 23,000 last year? How many Brazilan teams avg that much? My guess, not 2 many.Something to worry about is losing LD, thats were everyones worries should be focused on.

  48. Mase NJRB says:

    But arent the most powerful teams in the world losing money? MLS compared to the big 4 ,is in great shape.If you think other leagues have owners with more money you’re sadly mistaken. Program in place, in time the wallets are going to open. Just look at the owners around the league, the money is there. Patience.

  49. Charles says:

    Funny that the sentiment seems to be that this stinks. But when Landon is going to England, the sentiment is I hope he stays there longer than a loan.

    Sounders fan here saying too bad if either leaves. I I have enjoyed watching both players in great games between the two teams.

  50. PetedeLA says:

    Totally disagree.

    Juninho was our rock in the middle.

    A rock that scored some vital and beautiful goals.

    Also… IMHO our best “defender”.

    Who was covering Beckham’s butt when he got tired?

    Who covered Donovan’s butt when he did his as per usual disappearing act?

    Who covered Omar’s butt when he was too slow to deal with the speedy forwards?

    Who found Saddham Hussein?


    But seriously. He was a vital player for us this year.

    But I take your point, he’s not the type of player to directly put butts in seats.

  51. tim says:

    To start, Everton is broke, they in no way humanly possible can afford to buy Donovan. LD is a great product to keep in the US, he’s been the face of US soccer, like it or not, for a long time and continues to be that face.

    I honestly think this is a just a cap issue that the league will have to contend with, until every team, is close to capacity for all games and has income from jersey sponsors, and possibly is in a sss.

    There are so many variables to look at in this one deal. But it’s certainly a trial case for league to watch, it’s going to continue to happen for the next several years while the league is still in its infancy. At 16, we’re still a very young league. It’s almost time for the training wheels to come off, but not yet.

  52. Al K says:

    Juninho will be missed in LA. Very good MLS player. Its a shame that the Galaxy couldn’t keep him, and its a reminder of the financial limitations that MLS still operates under. As effective as Juninho was on for the Galaxy, something tells me that he’s not quite the type of player MLS should be spending big DP type money one. He’s really too old and not quite enough quality to expect that they could recoup the transfer fee by selling him on later in his career. He would not sell tickets on any other club. While the Galaxy may be able to afford that, most other MLS markets cannot afford that type of player. And competitive balance is really important to keeping fans happy in Columbus, Colorado, San Jose, etc. These cities don’t have fans born into being supporters because their grandfathers supported the team in the glory days…like European teams. The need some glorious history to build that type of fan base.

    One question – Juninho just signed a new contract with Sao Paolo – does that mean he could have gone to LA on a free transfer? — which would mean that LA didn’t offer him the salary Sao Paolo could offer him as a 5th midfielder?

  53. bryan says:

    Club America in Mexico is looking at him. As well as a few other teams.

    side note, i had to refresh this page like 30 times before the “post” button would pop up when i typed. been doing this for weeks now. anyone else has this problem?!

  54. Max says:

    Teams dominate….Leagues dont. Mid to bottom of La Liga and EPL are terrible.

  55. Leech says:

    Because 3 hasnt worked out so well…dork

  56. Tiger says:

    Increase the cap and add a DP…