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Cruzeiro release former Brazil striker Leandro Damiao

Former Brazil international forward Leandro Damiao is leaving Cruzeiro.

Cruzeiro have not renewed the contracts of former Brazil international forwards Leandro Damiao and Julio Baptista, the club announced on Wednesday.

Damiao, 26, was a reported target of Tottenham in 2011-12 after featuring for the Selecao in its 2012 Olympics campaign. Julio Baptista, 34, made 48 appearances for the national team and spent time at Real Madrid, Arsenal, Sevilla and Sao Paulo among others.

In addition, the club announced the departure of midfielder Charles and right-back Ceara.

Damiao has disappointed since moving from Internacional to Santos following Neymar's departure from the Sao Paulo club in 2013. He was loaned to Cruzeiro in January of 2015 after failing to impress at the Vila Belmiro, and scored just four goals in 23 Serie A games for the Belo Horizonte giants this season.

The decision to part ways with the players comes with one game still remaining in the Brazilian championship.

"The board notified, on Wednesday afternoon, that it will not renew the contract of four athletes for next season," The club's statement read.

"In this manner, Leandro Damiao, Charles, Julio Baptista and Ceara will leave the club this week and will not take part in the final round of the Brasileirao, against Internacional, on Sunday."

Champions in 2013 and 2014, Cruzeiro, who sacked two coaches this campaign before settling on former Brazil boss Mano Menezes, currently sit in eighth place with 55 points.


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