On this day: Juninho joins Middlesbrough

On this day: Juninho joins Middlesbrough
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Back on this day in 1995, Middlesbrough completed the signing of former Brazilian international Juninho from Sao Paulo.

The summer and autumn months of 1995 was littered with reports surrounding the future of Brazilian international Juninho. It was claimed that the likes of Arsenal, Inter Milan and Sir Bobby Robson's Porto were all interested in his services.

So, when he was unveiled as a Middlesbrough player 18 years ago today, it would be fair to say that it was a transfer that shocked the footballing world.

The arrival of the 22-year-old, who cost £4.75m, from Sao Paulo took Boro's spending since their promotion to the Premier League in May to over £10m following the capture of Nicky Barmby from Tottenham Hotspur.

"It has taken a long time to clinch the deal, but it has been well worthwhile. It's a big step for Juninho, but I'm confident he'll be a big success over here," manager Bryan Robson told reporters.

Meanwhile, the club's chief executive Keith Lamb added: "It is a measure of Middlesbrough's ambition that we have signed the most sought-after player in the world. We have beaten all the top Premiership clubs and several big European clubs to his signature.

"The negotiations between the two clubs were long and drawn out, but Juninho always wanted to come to Middlesbrough. The big challenge was persuading Sao Paulo to sell him and I am delighted we have been successful."

He made 21 appearances during the 1995-96 campaign as Robson's team secured their place in the top flight for another term, but it was during the next season that the former Sao Paulo player made himself a hero among the Middlesbrough faithful.

The attacking midfielder scored 13 goals in all competitions as the Teesiders reached the final of the League Cup and the FA Cup with an exciting brand of football that also included his fellow countryman Emerson and Italian striker Fabrizio Ravanelli.

It wasn't enough to keep Boro in the Premier League, though, and so Juninho was sold to Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid in 1997 for £12m.

However, the Riverside Stadium had not seen the last of him and he returned for a season-long loan spell in 1999-00. The move was made permanent in 2002, shortly after Juninho was part of the Brazil squad that had won the World Cup in the Far East. He went on to play a key role as Boro won the League Cup at the expense of Bolton Wanderers in 2004.

He left for good later that year and had spells with Celtic, Palmeiras and Sydney FC prior to his retirement.

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