Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior (born 29 June 1954), also known as Léo Júnior or simply Júnior, is a Brazilian football pundit and retired footballer who played as a left back or midfielder. He was nicknamed "capacete" ("helmet", in Portuguese) because of his afro hairstyle.
|Full name||Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior|
|Date of birth||29 June 1954|
|Place of birth||João Pessoa, Brazil|
|Height||1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|Position(s)||Left back, midfielder|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
Léo Júnior played for Flamengo during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, winning four Brazilian Championships (1980, 1982, 1983, 1992), the 1981 Copa Libertadores and 1981 Intercontinental Cup. With 857 matches, he is the player with most appearances for Flamengo.
On 12 June 1984 he was bought by Torino, for a fee of two million dollars. Léo Júnior asked and obtained a guarantee to play as a midfielder rather than a full-back, because he considered the former role less stressful, so to extend the life of his career. Although he was now thirty years old, after some initial difficulties, he succeeded in integrating in the formation coached by Luigi Radice, becoming the leader of the midfield. During his first year in Italy was the victim of two incidents of racism: in Milan he was repeatedly insulted and spat upon as he left the stadium with his mother and father and in Turin, on the occasion of the derby, Juventus fans exhibited offensive banners on the colour of his skin. The Torino supporters responded promptly with another banner: "Better negro than a Juventus fan". At the end of the season, finished second behind Verona, he was awarded Serie A's player of the year.
During his time with "Toro" he was also given the affectionate nickname of "papà Júnior", due to his elder appearance. He remained in Turin until 1987, when he had a fallout with the manager Radice. The coach believed the performance of the Brazilian lower than that of the first season, while Léo Júnior was particularly annoyed for being substituted during a UEFA Cup tie against HNK Hajduk Split, which culminated with the elimination of the team.
He also took part in many Beach Soccer World Championships as part of the Brazil national team, winning awards for top scorer and best player. Overall Léo Júnior played for Brazil beach soccer between 1993 and 2001, notching up 201 goals during those years, including 71 goals at the World Championships. He stopped playing to pursue the development of the sport. In 2019, he was crowned "Best Legend" at the 2019 Beach Soccer Stars awards and the magazine France Football placed Júnior fifth in an article named "10 Legends of Beach Soccer".
Style of playEdit
Léo Júnior was known for his technique and teamwork as well as his versatility, playing at left back and on the left side of midfield for Brazil due to his two footedness (despite being naturally right footed) whilst often playing as a central midfielder or deep-lying playmaker at club level; he was also capable of playing on the right flank, and initially started out as an attacking right-back. He was as capable of "orchestrating attacking moves as fulfilling his defensive remit." In addition to his playmaking skills, he was highly regarded for his elegance, leadership, and tactical intelligence, as well as his ability to get forward, provide precise crosses for his teammates, or strike on goal. Moreover, he was also an accurate free kick and penalty taker.
|Club||Season||League||National cup[a]||League cup||Continental||Total|
- Intercontinental Cup: 1981
- Libertadores Cup: 1981
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1980, 1982, 1983, 1992
- Brazil Cup 1990
- FIFA World Cup: round 2 (fifth place) 1982; quarter-finals (fifth place) 1986
- Copa América runner-up: 1983
- Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team: 1980, 1983, 1984, 1991, 1992
- Bronze ball South American Player of the Year: 1981
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1982
- FIFA XI: 1982 
- Serie A player of the year: 1985
- Bola de Ouro Brazilian Footballer of the Year: 1992
- South American Team of the Year: 1992
- FIFA 100: 2004
- Most appearances in Flamengo's History – 857 apps
- Beach Soccer World Championship: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
- Copa América: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
- Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro Lance Volume 1. Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A. 2001. p. 103. ISBN 85-88651-01-7.
- "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- Pereira, Mauro Cezar. "Mais Sobre Flamengo" (in Portuguese). ESPN Brasil. Archived from the original on 4 December 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- "Junior, from the pitch to the box". FIFA. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Júnior (Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior)". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 3 December 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
- Napoleão, Antônio Carlos; Assaf, Roberto (2006). Seleção Brasileira 1914–2006. São Paulo: Mauad X. p. 268. ISBN 85-7478-186-X.
- "Brazil's World Cup squad 1982". Planet World Cup. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- "Brazil's World Cup squad 1986". Planet World Cup. Retrieved 12 June 2009.
- "From the sand to the lawns: Junior class and strength". MIS MUSEUM IMAGE AND SOUND. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- "Principais artilheiros dos mundiais (Mínimo de 10 gols)" (in Portuguese). beachsoccerbrasil.com.br. 2001. Archived from the original on 24 November 2002. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Júnior detona confederação de beach soccer". band.com.br. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- "Beach Soccer Stars shine bright once more". Beach Soccer Worldwide. 9 November 2019. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
- Adamov, Alexey (19 October 2019). "Топ-10 легенд пляжного футбола по версии France Football. Кто лишний, а кого забыли?". Beach Soccer Russia. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
- Junior, from the pitch to the box FIFA.com
- "PAPA' JUNIOR" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 20 September 1987. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Guido De Luca (18 June 2008). "Leo Junior approda al Toro" (in Italian). www.toronews.net. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- GIANNI MURA (3 November 2006). "Falcao, Careca e altri maestri la top ten dei nostri brasiliani" (in Italian). La Repubblica. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Andrea Nocini (20 September 2012). "IL PELE'...JUNIOR" (in Italian). www.pianeta-calcio.it. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
- Léo Júnior at National-Football-Teams.com
- FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
- "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 21 January 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
- "Junior completa 58 anos de idade e recebe o carinho do Flamengo". Site Oficial do Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2015.