Beast wants regular role
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Julio Baptista would sacrifice his status as 'king of the cups' for a regular place at Arsenal.
Julio Baptista would readily sacrifice his status as Arsenal's 'king of the cups' if it meant securing a permanent spot in Arsene Wenger's side.
Since joining on loan from Real Madrid in the summer, the burly Brazilian forward has largely saved his best performances for cup competitions, and in particular the Carling Cup where he has scored six goals in just two games.
Baptisa is likely to have the chance to add to that impressive tally when The Gunners face London rivals Chelsea in the final on Sunday, live on Sky Sports 1, but the former Sevilla star still feels unfulfilled by his contribution this term.
After starting just four league games, Baptista admits he would rather be known for holding down a first team place than his sporadic interventions in the cups.
"They say that I'm the king of the cups for the goals I've scored, but I'd swap all of them for the chance to start more games," Baptista told Zoo magazine.
"It's not easy to be a regular in the Arsenal side, even less so as a striker, and I genuinely believe playing in attack here is more difficult than in Spain."
Wenger looks ready to field a mixture of first-team stars and young hopefuls despite the daunting prospect of facing Chelsea on Sunday, and Baptista is desperate to play a leading role in an Arsenal win at The Millennium Stadium to further win over the club's fans.
"It will mean a lot. Even just to win a trophy in England," Baptista added.
"I'm ambitious and want a lot more from my career. I'm not content with what I've done for Arsenal so far and I hope that people will see the real Julio Baptista very soon.
"I'm sure I'll be successful at Arsenal. I'm very young and I've got all the hunger and ambition I need."
Baptista moved to Arsenal as Jose Antonio Reyes joined Real in a loan exchange on transfer deadline day, and the future of the pair will be decided at the end of the current campaign.
Reports have indicated that Real may decide not to pursue a permanent deal for Reyes, but Baptista insists he will not return to the Bernabeu whilst under-fire manager Fabio Capello remains in charge.
"Arsenal took me in with open arms and they've treated me well. I know for sure that Arsene Wenger trusts me. I needed to hear that somebody believed in me and it's really made me feel important.
"That is something no-one at Madrid ever did for me. One thing's for sure: If Fabio Capello is still there, I won't go back. I'm happy at Arsenal."