Former Arsenal and Real Madrid star Julio ‘The Beast’ Baptista’s career looks set to end on more of a whimper than a roar after the Brazilian was released by FC Cluj.
Baptista spent six months with the Romanian side during which time he featured just three times for the Railwaymen, playing a grand total of just played just 43 minutes of first-team football without scoring a goal.
The Samba star’s stint in Eastern Europe was made all the more remarkable for the fact it came after a period of some 20 months without a club.
Baptista’s previous contract with Orlando City ended back in January 2017 and, though his barrel-chested frame may have suggested otherwise, he was able to maintain some modicum of fitness by regularly playing futsal.
The ripe old age of 37 during with Cluj, the Beast was also one of the best paid players in the Romanian Liga 1, earning a hefty €45,000 euros a month before tax.
His 43 minutes of first-team action came in three stints: first there was a 20-minute appearance against Gaz Metan followed by a single minute against Sepsi OSK and a further 22 minutes against Dudelange in a Europa League qualifier Cluj ended up losing.
All told, Baptista will leave having earned somewhere in the region of €360,000 or around €8,732 for every minute he’s played.
Cluj made a statement announcing premature goodbye Julio Baptista:
“The club Cluj CFR 1907 and Julio Baptista have reached an agreement on the friendly termination of the contract, we thank Julio for the work done with our team’s shirt and we wish him the best!”
Though he struggled to make much of an impact on the pitch, Baptista was apparently a great bloke to have in the changing room, where his professionalism shone through:
“Although he did not play many minutes, his contribution to the dressing room was significant, his professionalism and preparation were an additional motivation for our young club players, no matter which career he chooses in the future, Julio Baptista will continue to be a collaborator. close to the Cluj CFR 1907 club. “
A truly unforgettable stint.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.