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Orlando City Makes Julio Baptista Signing Official

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After much speculation yesterday, the Lions confirmed the deal was made official today. The Brazilian forward/attacking midfielder will join the club for the 2016 season.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City has formally announced the signing of Brazilian forward/attacking midfielder Julio Baptista. The announcement comes after the Brazilian's month-long training stint with the club and yesterday's report out of Brazil that he had been signed.

The club, in a press release, announced him as a "discovery signing" and is now just waiting on his P-1 Visa to get approved.

"Júlio is a strong, physical and tactical player who will provide us with more depth and options in the forward positions," said Head Coach Adrian Heath in the release. "We enjoyed having him train with us earlier this month, and are very pleased with the decision to bring him on board full time."

As we mentioned yesterday, Baptista is good friends with Kaká and has almost grown up with him. Both of them came up through the São Paulo youth system, and both have played for the Brazilian national team and at Real Madrid. The move gives Orlando that veteran forward that they've been seeking to play off the bench behind Cyle Larin. At 34 years old, Baptista is not the player he once was, but if he can be a good 20-30 minute player off the bench to spell Larin or make spot starts, then that is exactly what the team needs out of him.

The issue now for Orlando is the club has only 10 international roster spots for 13 players. Bryan Rochez and Devron Garcia have already been loaned to Orlando City B in USL in order for the team to be MLS roster compliant, but it seems now the Lions will have to make another roster move in order to accommodate Baptista.

Heath is most likely going to take some time to mull the decision over on who to send down to OCB, if only for the interim. Defenders Aurelien Collin or David Mateos are possibilities as it stands right now. There is also the chance that Orlando tries to trade for another international roster spot from another team, but that would be more in the long term plans. Also worth noting, Heath mentioned at the beginning of the season that some players were close to receiving their green cards, which would free up a currently used international roster spot.

Here's a look at The Beast's playing history since 2003 (data per Transfermarkt.com):

Years

Clubs

Apps.

Goals

Assists

Yellow

Red

Mins.

2013-15

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube

36

11

1

3

1708

2011-13

Malaga CF

33

14

3

7

2501

2008-11

AS Roma

77

15

6

4

4308

2005-08

Real Madrid

77

13

7

4

1

4530

2008-11

AS Roma

77

15

6

4

4308

2006-07

Arsenal FC (Loan)

35

10

4

1

1753

2003-05

Sevilla FC

73

43

1

8

6259