Posted: Mon February 3, 2014 3:30PM; Updated: Mon February 3, 2014 3:30PM

Former Brazil, Lyon, Red Bulls MF Juninho Pernambucano retires

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Former Brazil midfielder Juninho, left, played for the New York Red Bulls last season. The veteran retired on Monday.
Rich Graessle/Icon SMI

SAO PAULO (AP) - Former Brazil and Lyon midfielder Juninho has announced his retirement from football after a 20-year career.

The 39-year-old Juninho had been practicing with Brazilian club Vasco da Gama in an attempt to keep playing, but the midfielder said he was struggling too much to recover from a muscle injury sustained late last year.

Juninho says ''it was privilege to play'' as long as he did, ''although it was harder than I thought.''

The midfielder will be a TV commentator during the World Cup and says he is already ''considering a coaching career.''

Juninho played in the 2006 World Cup with Brazil. He thrived with Lyon in the 2000s, and was with the New York Red Bulls before returning to Vasco last season.

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