Juninho: ‘I should not have left English football when I did’

The little genius talks about his time at Middlesbrough, his vision for Brazilian football and his love of Heinz Baked Beans

By Yellow & Green Football for the Guardian Sport Network

It’s the morning after Brazil beat Peru in the Copa América final to lift their first major trophy in 12 years. In an airy, well-lit office at the headquarters of the CBF, Brazil’s football association, Juninho sits behind a grand, expensive-looking wooden desk. The man who left such an impression on English football during his time at Middlesbrough has been working here since April, when CBF president Rogério Caboclo recruited him to lead a newly created department in charge of developing the domestic game in Brazil. Yet, by the end of the day, Juninho will be packing up and moving on.

Despite Brazil’s triumph at the Maracanã the previous night, there are issues to be resolved at the CBF. National team co-ordinator Edu is on his way to Arsenal and the morning’s papers are speculating that Juninho will replace him. A few hours after we leave, his new role will be confirmed, but for now Juninho remains tight-lipped: “Things are not decided,” he says.

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Juninho: ‘I should not have left English football when I did’