Juninho is to leave Celtic and return to his native Brazil after a disappointing eight-month spell at the Glasgow club.

Manager Martin O’Neill confirmed that the World Cup winner had asked to be released from his contract and was set to join Brazilian club Palmeiras.

O’Neill told reporters: “It is almost tied up and I think he has just a couple of loose ends to be sorted out and I think he will be leaving this week.

“Naturally I am disappointed. When we took over his contract from Middlesbrough he was finding it difficult.

“They were spending big money trying to improve their team and he was on the periphery of things.

“I thought he would come here and we would be a new lease of life for him and the response from everybody would be great. I thought his particular response would be just what we needed.

“It has been disappointing but I also said to him that I would not keep him a prisoner. He came to me a week or two ago and said that he had an opportunity to go back to Brazil and there were a number of teams interested in him.

“The league was starting up again and there was a possibility of him going so he asked could he be freed from his contract and I didn’t have a problem with it.”