Julio Baptista on leaving Arsenal after just one season and why the Premier League is the best

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Julio Baptista spent just one season at Arsenal during a loan spell from Real Madrid in 06-07


Former Brazil international Julio Baptista arrived on loan at Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2006 with high expectations after Arsene Wenger spent years seeking him out. 

He didn’t quite hit the heights he would have hoped for at the Emirates during his spell as he scored just three league goals in 24 appearances, but he did show a glimpse of his quality in cup competitions. 

Arsenal were happy with what they saw and were keen to bring him in permanently, although a move failed to materialise and he returned to the Bernabeu. Baptista hung up his boots last year after nearly 20 years in the game and has been reflecting on his career and all things Arsenal.

Sportsmail spoke to the ex-forward about views on the latest ongoing at the Emirates and his best memories from his short time at the club. 

Julio Baptista spent just one season at Arsenal during a loan spell from Real Madrid in 06-07

He showed glimpses of his quality while at the club but ultimately struggled for consistency

He showed glimpses of his quality while at the club but ultimately struggled for consistency

What are memories do you have of playing at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger? 

Nice memories. Wenger was a very kind person and managed to get the best out of the players, he knew how to find the perfect moments and worked very well on the emotional aspects. 

I will always remember him as a precise coach, who always knew what he wanted.

Why didn’t you stay in London, what went wrong?

I left the club at my best moment. I had adapted to the city of London and my level of English had improved considerably. The bad thing is that I was there on loan and in the end Arsenal was unable to agree a permanent move for me because they couldn’t afford Real Madrid’s asking price.  

He admitted he wanted to stay with the Gunners but the club could not afford his transfer fee

He admitted he wanted to stay with the Gunners but the club could not afford his transfer fee

He said Arsene Wenger always got the best out of players and has been a big miss for the club

He said Arsene Wenger always got the best out of players and has been a big miss for the club 

Do you think Wenger leaving Arsenal has had a similar impact to when Sir Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United?

Certainly. It is no coincidence that a manager coaches a team for so many years. And having more than 25 years at Arsenal is not easy. 

Wenger is an incredible leader because in England the coach has more responsibility and has much more weight in all decisions of the club. That’s why he was an important person for Arsenal. He has been a great man and will remain in the club’s history forever.

Is Mikel Arteta the right man to lift Arsenal and restore the club to glory? 

Arteta is a young coach who has a chances to be successful and needs the club: he must feel confident. 

It is a long term project, and if he is given time then he will deliver results, but he must be shown patience. 

The Brazilian believes Mikel Arteta is the right man to lead Arsenal forward but he needs time

The Brazilian believes Mikel Arteta is the right man to lead Arsenal forward but he needs time 

You’ve played in the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga. Which do you think is the best?  

I think all the competitions are good, but I think English football is ahead because of their competitiveness and because they have five teams that can compete for the title. 

We have already seen a Champions League final of two English teams last year when Tottenham played Liverpool.

Baptista feels the Premier League is the best in the world due to the amount of quality teams

Baptista feels the Premier League is the best in the world due to the amount of quality teams 

You arrived at Arsenal in an exchange deal with Antonio Reyes, who sadly died last year. How was your relationship with him and what do you remember about the move?  

Now Jose Antonio Reyes lives with God. He was not only a former team-mate, but he was a great player, a great person. 

He was fine at Arsenal, but he hadn’t completely adapted and eventually went to Real Madrid. 

He joined Arsenal in an exchange with Antonio Reyes (pictured) who sadly died last year

He joined Arsenal in an exchange with Antonio Reyes (pictured) who sadly died last year 

It was very stressful to play for Los Blancos, there was a new philosophy at the club and I was not in their plans. In the end I joined Arsenal at midnight – the very last moment.

Who was the best Arsenal player when you were with the club?

Thierry Henry. He has an excellent history with Arsenal, has won many things with the club and has become a unique leader. 

When people talk about him, everyone thinks about Arsenal. Thierry is the player who would would be missed by any team. He was Arsenal.

He said legendary Thierry Henry was the best player in the squad during his time at Arsenal

He said legendary Thierry Henry was the best player in the squad during his time at Arsenal 

The former forward added that when people talk about Henry, they think about Arsenal

The former forward added that when people talk about Henry, they think about Arsenal

You left Real Madrid just before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived. Why do you think he signed for Juventus and can you see him returning?  

Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to play with Cristiano Ronaldo, I only played against him. But he is a player with incredible physical qualities that have never seen before in a footballer. 

He chose to leave Madrid because the best circumstances arose for him and I imagine he wanted more challenges and change of scenery.  

After playing at the Bernabeu for so many years he showed he was one of the best and won everything both individually and collectively. It’s not easy.



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