INTERVIEW-Soccer-Juninho warms to his task at Olympique Lyon
LYON, France |
LYON, France Nov 6 (Reuters) - Olympique Lyon's dead ball specialist Juninho scored his 40th free kick goal for the club against Steaua Bucharest in a Champions League game on Wednesday to make his mark on the French side's scoring records.
The strike in a 2-0 home win meant the Brazilian midfielder joined compatriot Sonny Anderson as the club's all-time top scorer in European competition with 16 by netting his 94th goal in all competitions for the French champions.
"I knew the goalkeeper would try and anticipate on one side so I just shot and wrongfooted him," the 33-year-old told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
"I am writing a small page in the club's history, I am really happy about that," added Juninho, who joined Lyon in 2001 and has won seven Ligue 1 titles with the club.
Juninho had two difficult years at Lyon after arriving from Vasco de Gama before finding his feet in Ligue 1.
"I have had my highs and lows but I really improved with the club that allowed me to discover the European Cup. My first two seasons were tough but now it's much better," he said.
In March 2007 he said he wanted to leave after Lyon were eliminated in the first knockout round of the Champions League, but now he is happy to stay and has 100 goals in his sights.
"That would be a nice symbol," he said. "However, more than the numbers it's the team's victory that pleases me.
"I just want to help the team win, I'm just doing my job although a big part of it is taking the free kicks."
Lyon are top of Group F and should qualify for the first knockout round thanks to Juninho's inspired performances.
He said his form was due to a sensible lifestyle.
"You have to be careful with what you eat, work hard, stay focused and rest when you need to," he said.
"Right now I have a little pain behind my knee but I know how to take care of myself. For example, I did not play at Sochaux (last week). So I am fresh when it really matters."
"This could be my best season at Lyon," he added.
(Writing by Julien Pretot, editing by Ken Ferris)
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