Beast savages English game
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
The likelihood of Julio Baptista remaining at Arsenal on a long-term basis looks to be in doubt after the Brazilian's impassioned criticism of the English game.
Baptista has largely failed to impress in North London since joining on loan from Real Madrid - aside from a four-goal haul in a Carling Cup game at Anfield - and Arsene Wenger is expected to make a decision over a permanent move for the forward at the end of the month.
Whilst the man nicknamed 'The Beast' has refused to rule out staying at Emirates Stadium, he has savaged the English weather and criticised the quality of the Premiership after struggling to adapt since his summer move.
"The teams from the north of England are terrible," said Baptista in The Times.
"When we play them I have counted their centre-backs booting up to 30 long balls upfield per game.
"The weather over here is killing me. We'll get one day of sunshine for every 30 days of rain, and it is driving me to despair.
"My girlfriend and my mother are frightened about not seeing the sun in England. They miss being in Madrid.
"Premiership football is very hard. I am Brazilian and I enjoy playing the ball, making clever touches and taking bicycle kicks. Arsene Wenger does not forbid me from doing them, but the game is so fast I don't even have time to think about them.
"The moment you stop to think, someone has taken the ball off you and knocked you to the ground. Over here they value a corner kick more than a fancy flick.
"I am lucky to be with Arsenal, as they are a team that likes to play proper football."
Baptista's future is also dependent on whether Real Madrid opt to sign Jose Antonio Reyes on a permanent basis, and the Brazilian admits that he is currently in the dark over where he will be playing his football next season.
"I could stay at Arsenal, but right now I can't see myself anywhere for definite," Baptista added.
"But it's clear in my mind that I would tackle my second chance with Real with far more strength and maturity than I did in my first spell."