Juninho Pernambucano and Olympique Lyonnais have parted company by mutual consent following Les Gones' first trophy-less campaign since the Brazilian, labelled "one of the most important players in the club's history", joined in June 2001.
"Juninho will leave us," confirmed Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. "We have agreed to cancel the last year of his contract and he can now go wherever he wants." Holding back the tears as he sat beside Aulas, the 34-year-old playmaker did not add anything himself but had done his talking on the pitch since signing from CR Vasco da Gama eight years ago.
Juninho's arrival coincided with the start of Lyon's record seven successive Ligue 1 titles as well as the 2008 Coupe de France. Although he could not inspire them to championship No8 this term, the Brazilian international was on target on Saturday – his 100th Lyon goal – as a 3-1 home win against SM Caen ensured the side finished third and gained a UEFA Champions League play-off berth. "He is one of the most important players in the club's history," said director Bernard Lacombe.
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