Former Real Madrid and Brazil international forward Julio Baptista has announced his retirement from football after a professional career spanning two decades. The 37-year-old, who has not played since last year, said on social media that he wanted “to begin a new life”, reports Xinhua news agency. “After more than 20 years in the football elite, it is time to step aside and announce that I have decided to end my career as a player,” he tweeted. “I want to show my gratitude to all those who have made it possible for me to fulfil my dream. Thank you all,” he added.

Baptista, who began his career as a defensive midfielder with Sao Paulo in 2000, had spells with Sevilla, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Roma, Malaga, Cruzeiro, Orlando City and CFR Cluj. He was capped 47 times for Brazil, last playing for his country at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.