Ex-Real Madrid forward Julio Baptista retires

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Rio De Janeiro, May 24 (IANS) Former Real Madrid and Brazil international forward Julio Baptista has announced his retirement from football after a professional career spanning two decades.

The 37-year-old, who has not played since last year, said on social media that he wanted “to begin a new life”, reports Xinhua news agency.

“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 tweeted.

“I want to show my gratitude to all those who have made it possible for me to fulfil my dream. Thank you all,” he added.

Baptista, who began his career as a defensive midfielder with Sao Paulo in 2000, had spells with Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Roma, Malaga, Cruzeiro, Orlando City and CFR Cluj.

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He was capped 47 times for Brazil, last playing for his country at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

–IANS

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