It is time to step aside – Julio Baptista announces retirement
Julio Baptista has announced his retirement at the age of 37, declaring his intention to "begin a new life" after his playing career.
The former Brazil international started out at Sao Paulo before heading to Spain, where he played for Sevilla – scoring 20 goals in the 2003-04 LaLiga season – and Real Madrid.
Baptista helped Arsenal win the League Cup during a loan stint in 2006-07, including an astonishing four-goal haul against Liverpool in a 6-3 quarter-final win at Anfield.
There were also spells with Roma and Malaga, as well as a return to his homeland with Cruzeiro in 2013, prior to joining Orlando City in MLS.
Last at CFR Cluj, Baptista made just two appearances for the Romanian club in 2018 and, via Twitter, confirmed on Thursday he is hanging up his boots.
"After more than 20 years in the football elite, it is time to step aside and announce that I have decided to end my career as a player," he wrote.
"I begin a new life, and I want to show my gratitude to all those who have made it possible for me to fulfill my dream. Thank you all."
Después de más de 20 años en la élite del fútbol es momento de dar un paso a un lado y anunciar que he decidido finalizar mi carrera como jugador. Comienzo una nueva vida, y quiero mostrar mi agradecimiento a todos los que han hecho posible que cumpliera mi sueño. Gracias a todos pic.twitter.com/SkQQPlOk8s— Júlio Baptista (@J_Baptista81) May 23, 2019