Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson is one of five new names confirmed for the Star Sixes six-a-side tournament at The O2 on July 13-16.
England have bolstered their ranks with ex-Arsenal star Merson and Liverpool and Fulham ace Danny Murphy linking up with Steven Gerrard’s team.
Juninho is the latest World Cup winner to be unveiled, joining a glittering Brazil squad for the inaugural world six-a-side competition.
The former Middlesbrough magician will play alongside former Deportivo La Coruna forward Djalminha.
Former Spain defender Carlos Marchena, a World Cup and European Champion with La Roja, comes in to join up with his international centre-back partner, Carles Puyol, in the Spanish side.
But it is Juninho’s addition that will really whet the appetite. The playmaker is best known to British fans after three spells with Boro between 1995 and 2004, when he became the first Brazilian player to really shine in the Premier League.
The diminutive midfielder was loved for his skill and courage in equal measure as he helped Middlesbrough reach both domestic cup finals in 1997 and win the League Cup in 2004, later being voted as the club’s greatest-ever player in a fans’ poll.
Juninho will face his former Middlesbrough team-mate Fabrizio Ravanelli on the opening night of Star Sixes – Thursday July 13 – as a Brazil side including Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo take on Italy, who will also have superstar Alessandro Del Piero leading the line.
On the same night, Murphy and Merson will be in the England squad, also containing Gerrard, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand, as they face Marchena’s Spain, with another Boro icon Gaizka Mendieta involved.
Star Sixes promises to be four days of spectacular six-a-side action at London’s O2 Arena, with other world-class stars including Robert Pires of France, Germany’s Michael Ballack, and Jay-Jay Okocha of Nigeria.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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