Former Arsenal attacker suffers more injury heartbreak

Julio Baptista

Former Arsenal loanee made a comeback from injury last month after more than a year out. Now he has suffered more misfortune.

Julio Baptista is a name Arsenal fans will remember well, he came with a big reputation - nicknamed 'The Beast' when he was loaned to them from Sevilla in 2006/07.

It was a tag he never fulfilled for the Gunners, apart from when he scored four goals for Arsenal in a 6-3 demolition of Liverpool in the League Cup.

Arsene Wenger was not persuaded to sign him permanently, and he went to Roma instead before signing with Malaga.

He remains at Malaga where he recently made a return from more than a year out injured.

He made a comeback on February 3 in La Liga against Rayo Vallecano, his first appearance for the club since November 2011, 15 months out of action.

Baptista had suffered an Achilles injury which required major surgery, as there was a partial tendon tear, and complications delayed his return even further.

'The Beast' bounced back remarkably, starting in Malaga's second round Champions League game away to Porto a fortnight ago.

They lost 1-0, but the Brazilian was hoping to have his moment at the Estadio La Rosaleda in the return leg, and fire the Andalucians to the quarter finals.

Now he has been robbed of that chance after suffering a hamstring tear in his left leg which will keep him out for a number of weeks.

The return match against Porto is on March 13 and there is almost no chance of him making that.

Baptista will have to hope his teammates can turn around their 1-0 deficit while he watches anxiously from the sidelines. 

If they can then there is a chance he may still get another bite of having a fairytale Champions League moment, but overall it's more heartbreak for a player who has had more than his fair share over the past year-and-a-half.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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