WTTGT Writer: Amoy Ghoshal
|From||To||Fee||League/Goals||FA Cup/Goals||LGE Cup/Goals||Other/Goals|
|31/08/2006||14/05/2007||Loan||11 (13) / 3||2 (2) / 0||3 (0) / 6||1 (3) / 1|
A question for Gooners all around the world – who was the last Arsenal player to score four in a match before Arshavin’s famous quartet against Liverpool? RVP, Adebayor, Bendtner or perhaps even Fabregas would be the obvious first choice guesses. But, the answer in fact is Julio Baptista. Remember him? The Brazilian who bagged four in that crazy yet memorable January evening at Anfield back in 2007 when Arsenal thrashed Liverpool 6-3 in a League Cup clash.
“Beast” as he is nicknamed, even failed to convert from a penalty in that match and that summed up the versatile Brazilian, who could both do the extraordinary and at the same time lack consistency, which is one big reason why he hasn’t stayed in one single club for a long period.
Baptista spent just one season at Arsenal, on loan from Real Madrid but failed to earn a permanent move to N5.That four-goal heroic display in Liverpool and the two goals away at Tottenham in the semi-final second-leg, a match in which he also scored an own goal, were the only two high points of a mediocre loan spell at north London. His versatility and physical presence were the two qualities that caught Arsene Wenger’s attention and brought the former Sevilla player to Arsenal as a part of the swap deal which saw Jose Antonio Reyes move to Real Madrid.
However, Baptista failed to adapt to the English game and never looked comfortable playing upfront in Arsenal’s 4-4-2. He was occasionally used in midfield but there too Baptista failed to make an impact that would convince Wenger to give him a permanent deal. Currently he is at Spanish big spenders Malaga and recently scored with an outrageous overhead-kick (see below) against Getafe to complete an incredible comeback as the Andalusian outfit won the game 3-2.
At 30, Baptista has very little time on his side to be remembered as a world class star and would have to perform exceptionally well for Malaga to get back into the Brazilian national team, and therefore remain in contention for a place in the 2014 World Cup squad.
As far as his Arsenal legacy is concerned, Baptista will be best remembered for his exploits against Liverpool and Spurs in the League Cup and when the ‘Beast’ looks back at his loan spell at the Emirates, he might even wonder what might have been had he been a little more consistent.
Was Julio Baptista a flop, or was he not? You decide…
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