Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior

Personal information
Full name Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior
Date of birth (1954-06-29) 29 June 1954
Place of birth João Pessoa, Brazil
Height 1.72 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Playing position Left back, Midfielder
Youth career
1973–1974 Flamengo
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1984 Flamengo 192 (7)
1984–1987 Torino 86 (12)
1987–1989 Pescara 62 (6)
1989–1993 Flamengo 70 (10)
Total 410 (35)
National team
1979–1992 Brazil 70 (9)
1993–2001 Brazil (beach) ? (201)
Teams managed
1993–1994 Flamengo
1997 Flamengo
2003 Corinthians
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior (born 29 June 1954), known simply as Júnior or Léo Júnior, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a left back or midfielder.[1] He was nicknamed "capacete"(Helmet) because of his afro hairstyle.

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004.[2] Junior now works as a television pundit for Rede Globo.

Club career

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.[1] With 857 matches, he is the player with most appearances for Flamengo.[3]

On 12 June 1984 he was bought by Torino, for a fee of two million dollars. 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 Juventino". At the end of the season, finished second behind Verona, he was awarded Serie A's player of the year.[4]

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 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 played for Italian club Pescara between 1987 and 1989.[1]

International career

Júnior recorded 74 appearances for the Brazilian national team, between May 1979 and December 1992, scoring six goals.[5] He appeared in both the 1982[6] and 1986 World Cup.[7]

He also took part in many Beach Soccer World Cups as part of the Brazilian national team, winning awards for top scorer and best player.[1] Overall Júnior played for Brazil beach soccer between 1993 and 2001, notching up 201 goals during those years.[8] He stopped playing to pursue the development of the sport.[9]

Managerial career

Júnior coached Flamengo from 1993 to 1994, and in 1997. He coached Corinthians from October 1, 2003 to October 10, 2003.

Style of play

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 at club level. He was as capable of "orchestrating attacking moves as fulfilling his defensive remit."[10]

Career statistics


Club Performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Brazil League Copa do Brasil League Cup South America Total
1975FlamengoSérie A270
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1984–85TorinoSerie A267
1987–88PescaraSerie A283
Brazil League Copa do Brasil League Cup South America Total
1988FlamengoSérie A10
Total Brazil 26217152
Italy 14818
Career total[11] 41035





Beach soccer




  1. 1 2 3 4 Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro Lance Volume 1. Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A. 2001. p. 103. ISBN 85-88651-01-7.
  2. "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC. March 4, 2004. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  3. Pereira, Mauro Cezar. "Mais Sobre Flamengo" (in Portuguese). ESPN Brasil. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Junior, from the pitch to the box". FIFA.com. Retrieved 7 November 2015.
  5. Napoleão, Antônio Carlos; Assaf, Roberto (2006). Seleção Brasileira 1914–2006. São Paulo: Mauad X. p. 268. ISBN 85-7478-186-X.
  6. "Brazil's World Cup squad 1982". Planet World Cup. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  7. "Brazil's World Cup squad 1986". Planet World Cup. Retrieved June 12, 2009.
  8. "From the sand to the lawns: Junior class and strength". MIS MUSEUM IMAGE AND SOUND. 2 June 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  9. "Júnior detona confederação de beach soccer". band.com.br. 31 October 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  10. Junior, from the pitch to the box FIFA.com
  11. "Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman.
  12. FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
  13. "South American Team of the Year". 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  14. "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.
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