This may not be a familiar sight anymore
As Juninho rose, Lyon did too. The Brazilian is now at the twilight of his career and the sun may also be setting on Lyon’s era of dominance. Their loss to Valenciennes gives Marseille its best chance at a title since 1992.
Lyon is a remarkable record in the annals of French football. 7 consecutive seasons at the top.
Juninho joined in 2001 and that season saw Lyon win their first league title in club history.
What is more remarkable is that this nascence was achieved with a revolving door of managers. Four of them in the last 7 seasons. They found ways to win titles, despite different personalities, philosophies, and personnel changes.
Jacques Santini who began OL’s era at the top in 2002, followed by Paul Le Guen’s unbroken streak of three titles in the middle, and Gerard Houllier and Alain Perrin rounding of the decade with their wins. With domestic bragging rights firmly theirs, the lack of European success has been harder to swallow. Both Santini and Le Guen resigned following disappointing losses in the CL.
The constant was Juninho and with his creative passing, devastating free kicks and strong personality, it did not matter who came and went in the managerial position or whether players were transferred in or out.
However all that maybe coming to an end. The president Jean-Michel Aulas in an interview with L’Equipe reaffirmed his faith in manager Claude Puel. On Juninho, his age becomes an issue (he turns 35 years) and more tellingly, he thinks that the Brazilian is no longer indispensable to the club and cannot guarantee his place. Since Aulas almost always has the final say in personnel matters, it is safe to say Juninho’s Lyon days are over.