Brazilian to become new face of A-League
COACH Branko Culina %believes Sydney FC's new marquee player Juninho Paulista is in a "different league" to his predecessor Dwight Yorke.
The 34-year-old Brazilian, a World Cup winner in 2002, has signed on for the 2007-08 A-League season in a one-year deal reportedly worth $1 million.
The former Middlesbrough, Atletico Madrid and Celtic midfielder was unveiled at a press conference at the Sydney Football Stadium yesterday, finally bringing an end to the search to replace Yorke.
The former Manchester United striker returned to England with Sunderland 11 months ago, after leading Sydney to the inaugural A-League title in 2005-06.
"It's a huge, huge coup not only for Sydney FC, but Australian football in general," Culina said.
"What Juninho offers us is going to be enormous ... not only from a footballing point of view but from a profile point of view.
"Dwight Yorke was terrific for Sydney ... but certainly I can't think of any player in Australia who has won a World Cup and played in the A-League ..."
Juninho said the decisive factor in his move to Sydney was the eagerness of the club's officials. The playmaker insisted he was not worried about the on and off-field pressures on him to become the new face of the A-League.
"Always in my career is a pressure. Once you play in Brazil, once you play in the national team, you have to win all the games. I know how to deal with the pressure," he said.