These days, many a Premiership Football team has more Brazilians than Englishmen in their ranks.
But when Osvaldo Giroldo Junior (aka Juninho) signed for Middlesbrough, he was something of a trail blazer.
After three spells at the Teesside club, TLF (The Little Fella) was nothing short of a club legend.
He loved the club, the fans, the area and its people and could often be seen out playing football with local kids on the street – the sort of down to earth behaviour beyond so many of today's multi-millionaire stars.
On the pitch, he was a dynamic attacking midfielder who played with skill, pace and a heart on the sleeve passion guaranteed a player the love of the fans.
He helped Middlesbrough to the final of both the FA and League cups. Boro lost them both and were then relegated. Juninho moved on, came back on loan and then signed permanently for a second time in 2002.
The club won the League Cup two years later – a feat Juninho claimed meant more to him than helping Brazil win the 2002 World Cup.
Small wonder then that The Little Fella has been voted Boro's best-ever player.
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