Juninho set for emotional farewell
Lyon's home game against Caen tomorrow is destined to be an emotional affair, with captain and talisman Juninho Pernambucano set to play what many expect will be his final game for the club. The 34-year-old midfielder has played a key part in seven Ligue 1-winning seasons since arriving at Stade Gerland in 2001, but has said the match will probably be his last in the Les Gones colours.
"I could stay for another year next season, I could play my last match against Caen, I don't know," he told Europe 1 radio on Thursday. "The likelihood is that I will leave, because there is a group that has been here for a long time and there are people who will be able to assume their roles more easily next season."
Lyon have slipped off the pace this season and cannot extend their record-breaking domination of the French top flight, but Juninho produced a reminder of his gifts with a trademark free-kick in the 3-1 win at Marseille last weekend. It was his 99th goal for the club - and, remarkably, his 44th from a free-kick - but after removing his shirt in celebration he was booked and will, therefore, miss their last match of the campaign at Toulouse.
Lyon coach Claude Puel, whose side are four points clear of Paris Saint-Germain in the race for UEFA Champions League qualification, has urged his side to focus on the task in hand. "Any other result but a victory will put us in a difficult position for the last day and the trip to Toulouse," he said.
Caen cannot afford to be distracted by the occasion as they are just one point above the drop zone going into the penultimate round. They require one victory to secure their top-flight status, but after Lyon they face the visit of title-chasing Bordeaux on the final day.
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