Red Bulls part ways with Juninho



Juninho’s first season with the New York Red Bulls also proved to be his last, and it wound up lasting less than a year.

The Red Bulls announced Wednesday afternoon that they have parted ways with Juninho after a first half of the MLS campaign that could best be described as frustrating for the Brazilian midfielder.

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

“Before I leave for home, I want to thank the New York Red Bulls for the opportunity to experience MLS and to wish my teammates and the club’s excellent fans every success for the remainder of the season,” Juninho said in the same statement.

Sources have told SBI that the veteran’s frustrations stemmed with his lack of playing time and how he was used by head coach Mike Petke in the team’s system. Juninho – who had not been in training the last two days as he tended to what Petke called a “personal matter” – critiqued his rookie head coach’s tactics after last month’s 2-1 home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, saying the team that was deployed was too predictable and defensive-minded with its two blocks of four.

Juninho had failed to find his form since signing with New York this past December and recently had been demoted to spot duty off the bench while Tim Cahill and Dax McCarty were the starting central midfielders Petke went with.

The 38-year old, who had been signed by the club several weeks before Petke was named head coach in January, had started in 10 of the 13 games he had played in this season. He delivered four assists in those matches but struggled with his free kicks and also earned a red card for kicking a dead ball at Jimmy Nielsen in a defeat at home to Sporting Kansas City in April.


What do you think of the Red Bulls parting ways with Juninho? Smart move? How will you look back on his time with the club?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Featured, MLS- New York Red Bulls, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Red Bulls part ways with Juninho

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Power to the for admitting it wasn’t working out. It wasn’t a particularly good idea to begin with, and in practice the free kicks never came and all he did was clog lanes in front of Dax McCarty. Best for all concerned to move on

    • Hopper says:

      Dax McCarty could have clear lanes all around him, and he’d still be spraying bad passes all over the place (after the requisite clumsy first touch of course).

      • futbolisimo says:

        + 1 on McCarty. So pathetic of NYRB to bring in a 38 yr old. Ridiculous. Earns the league no street cred around the planet. Better off developing some young home-grown guns with brains.

    • Rector & Carlisle says:

      How he was used in Petke’s system? It was trot around and try not to get injured, and wait for a free kick or a corner.

    • Joamiq says:

      Agreed. It wasn’t working out. This makes sense for everyone.

    • Old School says:

      On his last leg?
      Former big name?
      Already in NY area?

      Sounds like a perfect candidate for the non-MLS Cosmos.

  2. Mister JC says:

    At 38 and a shadow of his former self, who really expected this to last long, outside of the NYRB’s front office?

  3. Jahinho_Guerro says:

    theres always NY cosmos

  4. Chance says:

    A Half season of blasting free kicks straight into the wall was a half season too long.

  5. USSoccerHomer says:

    glad RBNY didn’t make him a big part of the marketing campaign. oh wait… d’oh!

  6. Travis says:

    Im just not sure how NYRB thought this would play out well, 38 is ancient for a field player in this sport.

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      Brazilian and free kicks to sell jerseys and fills seats? Never really seemed like a great move to me.

  7. john.q says:


    • ftk says:

      somehow who, in his prime, was better than literally everyone but Henry and Cahill on NYRB. perspective, folks.

      • Francois says:

        He was definitely better than Cahill. No disputing that.

      • slowleftarm says:

        How good they were in their prime is irrelevant to helping RBNY win games which is all I’m concerned about. If I liked my soccer with a generous helping of syrupy nostalgia I’d go support Hempstead Cosmos.

  8. slowleftarm says:

    His only memorable moment was getting himself sent off for smashing the ball right at Jimmy Nielsen. The team plays better without him and he just wasn’t a good fit. He will not be missed.

  9. Dan in New York says:

    On his Facebook page — translated — he says he “wasn’t feeling well in the field” and his “relationship with the coach” made things even worse. I didn’t know there was an issue between him and Petke. Personally, I think he assumed the style of play in the MLS would be easier for him than it was. He looked frustrated out there a lot.

    • TomG says:

      Pure speculation but it’s certainly possible Petke demanded more defensive coverage out of him than he wanted to provide.

  10. Hildy16 says:

    Let the silly rumors begin as to which old international “star” is coming in next……

  11. Josh D says:

    Four assists wasn’t a bad return from 10 starts. Everyone knows it takes a season to acclimate to MLS’ “unique” style. A one season veteran player who played at the top level is never going to work, especially with a brand new manager. When things go wrong, there will always be a conflict.

    He didn’t earn DP money, I don’t think, so it was a good punt. He certainly won’t go down as the worst over 30 players MLS has brought in.

  12. Juan says:

    Best moment was the free kick that led to Cahill goal against Galaxy. As for the free kicks, he was training for NFL.

  13. Mark says:

    Good riddance.

  14. Mike says:

    Juninho was great, the best ball handler in the league. They better get someone in the tranfer window, doesn’t have to be a DP (which they are saving for Kaka). But with Juninho gone a Sebasian Stachnik or Bradley Wright-Phillips (if he would move to mid) is what we need.

  15. jspech says:

    what a waste mins & $$$, every year RED Bulls repets same mistake

  16. vincent says:

    How many times has MLS parted ways with a once-great player past his prime less than a year after signing? When will these clowns learn?

  17. bryan says:

    for the best, just didn’t work out. he never looked into it.

  18. Kelly says:

    His performance was completely forgettable. This was a good move for everyone.

  19. Scott A says:

    The fact that he was brought in before Petke was made coach is a big part of it. Next season should go more smoothly when Petke’s vision for the team is incorporated into acquisitions.

  20. Older & Wiser says:

    Rumor is they let him go to make cap space to re-acquire Rafa Marquez.

  21. Older & Wiser says:

    I guess RBNY will now rely on Roy Miller as their free kick specialist.

  22. TomG says:

    This is fine. His work rate was simply not sufficient. A Cahill/McCarty pairing is superior and Alexander can slide over for coverage as he’s superior inside anyway. What they really need are a couple speedy wing options.

  23. Adam M. says:

    Juninho happens to be correct in his analysis The team never really gelled with Juninho, Cahill and McCarty on the field at the same time because Petke never used them right. Juninho was far and away the best midfielder with the ball at his feet and in terms of distribution (his passing remains geogeous), but Petke seems to prefer going with 2 wingers and 2 more defensive central mids and doesn’t want to use a 10-type player running the offense. Juninho probably didn’t come to New York to sit on the bench because his manager wants to use a system that doesn’t have a spot for him. And yes, he may have made it more difficult for Petke if his legendary free kick abilities had made an appearance. But Red Bulls will remain inconsistent and frustrating playing with two marginal wingers and no quality creative force in the middle. Juninho was a great opportunity I think Petke blew it in favor of Eric Alexander and Johnny Steele, and yes, an over-appreciation of Dax McCarty’s overall abilities.

    • Chance says:

      Wow, that’s some seriously delusional thinking.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Wow, makes me wonder if Adam actually watched NYRB this season. Just because the guy used to be really good doesn’t make him a better option now than NYRB’s other midfielders.

      • Joamiq says:

        Seriously. It was clear that the Red Bulls played better without Juninho. That’s not a knock on him – McCarty and Cahill just provide a much better workrate than Juninho is capable of now, and the team operates better with wingers, even if those wingers are not better players than Juninho.

      • Adam M. says:

        I’ve seen every game. They played much better when Dax, Cahill and Juninho were either all not on the field at the same time or when they were and Cahill got pushed up higher (which only happened once or twice). They looked their best when Dax was out and Juninho had more room. Dax’s workrate is good, and he is a fine mop up player in front of the back line, but he isn’t creative and turns the ball over a lot going forward. Cahill should be playing higher to get in the area more. Juninho could have linked them up if he was given more room, but Pekte wants to play with wingers. I think he should have gone another direction.

  24. Vic says:

    Juninho didn’t run much which made him a defensive liability and really played his age. He still possessed some good passing ability but that wasn’t enough to compensate for his deficiances. He scored free kicks in practice but those were probably right outside the box. The ones he took during the games were generally further out and Juninho didn’t possess the range to score from far out. I’m glad he left. Its not as good as Morsi leaving but pretty close.

  25. Vic says:

    Juninho didn’t run much which made him a defensive liability and really played his age. He still had nice skill and touch but that wasn’t enough to compensate for his deficiances. He scored free kicks in practice but those were probably right outside the box. The ones he took during the games were generally further out and Juninho didn’t possess the range to score from far out. I’m glad he left. Its not as good as Morsi leaving but pretty close.

  26. Soccerhorn says:

    There was only ever room for one Juninho in this league. He’s wearing two rings and and is staying put!

  27. Euroman says:

    MLS = Retirement Home

    • Scott A says:

      And Europe is the graveyard to which Beckham was sent after the retirement home.

  28. SD says:

    don’t think he could handle the physicality of the league at his age…and yes he was better when dax was off and/or cahill up top…but he didn’t put in enough defensive work to merit taking off dax,,,he couldn’t cover the back line…..brazil gives players more time on the ball against mls there is no time because the players are more athletic and cover faster, not because they are technically better….in the end it just didn’t work out and glad the team didn’t try to force it and just let him go…..

    • SD says:

      he was fantastic at lyon, i watched him for many years (while living there) but he was 10 years younger and in his prime…very difficult to come to mls at 38….

  29. To' Azeredl says:

    Well, Juninho was far less effective [overall] than the “lesser” one in LA, but, as a mild salve to self-esteem, he was certainly far more effective than the infamous Edilson.