ORLANDO, Fla. – March 23, 2016 – Orlando City SC has signed Júlio Baptista as a Discovery Signing, pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and ITC. The attacking midfielder and forward brings tremendous international experience to the Lions’ attacking form having represented world-class soccer clubs throughout his career.
“Júlio is a strong, physical and tactical player who will provide us with more depth and options in the forward positions,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We enjoyed having him train with us earlier this month, and are very pleased with the decision to bring him on board fulltime.”
Baptista has scored 163 goals in 526 appearances across his club career and secured eight goals in 45 career caps with Brazil.
Along with Kaká, he came through the Sao Paulo Academy and graduated up to the club’s first team before moving to Europe in 2003 to join Sevilla. At Sevilla, he jump-started a career-defining performance scoring an incredible 62 goals in 90 appearances. The boxer-framed soccer player—widely nicknamed ‘The Beast’—was awarded the Ramon de Carranza (2004) title during his time with the club.
He moved on to play for Real Madrid in 2005 alongside the likes of Robinho, David Beckham, Zidane, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos among others, after having coined his signature ability to make late runs into the penalty area. He notched 16 goals in 85 appearances under the leadership of three separate head coaches at Real Madrid.
Shortly after, Baptista went on loan to Arsenal in 2006 to presume the roll of center forward. He left ‘the Gunners’ with 10 goals in 35 appearances and also opened his Champions League account with a game against Hamburg that saw him make a powerful header from an Emmanuel Eboue cross in 2006.
The 34-year-old transferred to Roma in 2008 and moved to Malaga in 2011 before returning to Brazil with Cruzeiro in 2013, netting 17 goals in 62 appearances.
Additionally, Baptista represented his home country at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, alongside Kaká. He has also won one La Liga title (2008), two FIFA Confederations Cup (2005 and 2009) and two Copa America titles (2004 and 2007).
Transaction: Orlando City SC signs Júlio Baptista as a Discovery Signing on March 23, 2016
Name: Júlio Baptista
Weight: 190 lbs.
Birthplace: São Paulo, Brazil