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Juninho shares his football tips
Around the Academy:

Juninho
Juninho honed his skills in futebol de salao

Juninho

I think the best way to improve your skills is to play football on a smaller pitch.

I didn't play 11-a-side football until I was 13.

In Brazil most kids play what we call futebol de salao, which is similar to five-a-side.

It is played on a hard surface and the ball is a lot smaller and weighted with foam so it doesn't bounce.

This makes the ball harder to play with at first - but it's great practice for when you move to full-size football.

On a small pitch you need to have good control and move the ball around quickly.

There isn't much space so you need to be skilful.

Most of the kids in my neighbourhood played futebol de salao.

Juninho
Juninho is a brilliant dribbler

That is why Brazil always produces players with great skill.

The amount of space in 11-a-side is not good for young kids.

You spend too much time running around without the ball.

In futebol de salao you are always involved.

It's great to play 11-a-side when you're older - but it's better if you play on a small pitch first.

The pitches in Brazil can be poor quality - you need to have good control to play on them otherwise you will lose the ball.

This is another reason Brazilian players have good technique.

Sometimes making things harder for yourself improves your game in the long-run

But remember that football isn't just about skill. it's also about having the right attitude.

The most important skill you can learn is discipline.


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Juninho factfile
Born: 22 Feb 1973
Place of birth: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Height: 5ft 5in
Weight: 9st 6lb
Position: Attacking midfielder

Did you know?
Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Pele were brought up playing futebol de salao
Juninho came on as a substitute in the 2002 World Cup final




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