Former Arsenal/Madrid player Júlio Baptista and ex-Tottenham target Damião among four players released by Cruzeiro
2013 and 2014 Brasileirão champions Cruzeiro have announced that they will not renew the contracts of Júlio Baptista, Ceará, Leandro Damião and Charles.
All four players had a contract until the end of the season, but they've been released from training and also from the last game of Cruzeiro in the Brazilian Championship against Internacional on Sunday at the Estádio Beira-Rio. Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Júlio Baptista came to Cruzeiro in the middle of 2013, and was presented in a derby fixture against Atlético Mineiro in an armoured car. The midfielder did well in the 2013 and 2014 Brazilian championships, but had many injuries which prevented him from appearing more regularly for the club. He also won the Campeonato Mineiro in 2014, and played 62 matches for Cruzeiro, scoring 17 goals.
Leandro Damião, once a long-term target of Tottenham Hotspur, joined the club earlier this year, and played 48 games, finding the net 18 times. He was the top scorer of Cruzeiro this season, but most of his goals came in the state championship and was disappointing in the league.
Charles was revealed by Cruzeiro in 2005, and was part of the team that won the Mineiro championship in 2008. He had spells elsewhere, but was reinstated into the team this season. The midfielder scored a great goal last weekend at the Mineirão, against Joinville. Ceará was bought in 2012 and the experienced right-back won the 2013 and 2014 Brazilian championships, and also the state league last season. He played 133 matches, and scored 2 goals.