Juninho hails Grenier potential
Renowned for his deadly accuracy from free-kicks, Juninho was one of the stars of the Lyon side that won seven successive Ligue 1 titles between 2002 and 2008.
The New York Red Bulls midfielder left Stade de Gerland in 2009, but still follows his former team closely. And Grenier in particular has caught his eye, especially having crashed home two free-kicks late last season which immediately drew comparisons with Juninho's own spectacular dead-ball efforts.
"I took a lot longer than him to get to that level," Juninho said of the young France international, who has been linked with a summer move to the Gunners. "[Lyon goalkeeping coach] Joel Bats told me that Clement Grenier practises free-kicks a huge amount. He works hard. He has everything to get to a great level."
Upon his arrival at Lyon from Vasco da Gama in 2001, Juninho was largely unheard of outside his native Brazil, but his rapid adaptation to French football and way of life contributed significantly to his prodigious success.
And having seen many compatriots cross the Atlantic but fail to settle, he has advised Barcelona's latest Brazilian prodigy, Neymar, to embrace the culture of the Camp Nou, but warned him that he will need to show the right attitude.
"Technically, he's impressive. He's quick, changes rhythm and scores goals,” he said. “But physically he's not totally ready. At 21, Neymar is already under a lot of pressure. He's played well. He plays on the left side as Ronaldinho did at Barcelona. It's going to be easier for him with Barca than Brazil. Barca's a good thing for him. If Neymar makes the effort to adapt to Barca, he has everything he needs to improve. It all depends on his attitude."