Julio Cesar, the former Nerazzurri player and hero of the Triplete, spoke to Goal.com about his career. From the conquest of the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid with the Inter shirt, to the World Cup semi-final at the Maracanã where they suffered the humiliating 7-1 at the Mineirao by future champions Germany.
Have you got used to the expression “former player”?
“It is strange that many people still imagine me as a player, some do not even know that I have retired! Sometimes on the street people stop me and say such things as: “It is the goalkeeper of Brazil, and they also call me Flamengo goalkeeper! Many people say, “This is the goalkeeper Julio Cesar,” and I immediately correct them: “Former goalkeeper Julio Cesar, I am no longer a player.” everyone is getting used to it, but the truth is that there are still many people who think I’m in full swing.”
Many judge you on the fact that you have never won a World Cup.
“I have not heard any criticism of this kind, everyone knows how much I would have liked to raise the World Cup to the skies and how much I have worked during my career to achieve this goal. I played in three World Cups: 2006, 2010 and 2014. Unfortunately, I was not given the joy to kiss that cup and raise it to the sky, and many other players did not win it, but their names are still engraved in the history of football.”
You have played in all of the most prestigious stadiums in the world.
“Football has given me much more than I expected, and I’m not talking about the economic side, but the professional one: I’ve achieved great goals: when you gain prestige, that is when you can renegotiate a contract, it means that you’ve achieved a great level.” What do you remember about Mineirazo? “Everybody always asks me the same question, wondering what happened, if it’s bothering me … No, I have to live with it, I conceded seven goals that night, but I’ve already answered extensively all the questions I’ve been asked about that semi-final with the Germany.”
You have a very strong emotional side. Has this helped you in your career?
“I have never stopped being what I am, I have always been as transparent as possible. My decisions have always been made thinking what’s the best for the group, I was always myself, Julio Cesar in the professional life is Julio Cesar who lives with his family. Of course, emotionally speaking, I have learned that over the years my emotional side has hurt me sometimes, yes, but it has also helped me a lot: with two weights and measures I can say that I suffered after many falls, precisely putting emotion before reason, but mistakes serve to strengthen you.”
Have you ever had any big disagreements in football?
“Thank God no, I’ve always had a good relationship with my teammates, I’ve been a friend for everyone.”
After winning everything with Inter, did you feel “unbeatable”?
“Look, I’m not going to say unbeatable because my position requires perfection, and I never reached perfection, but I felt really great, no doubt. At Inter, I won 14 titles in 7 years: on average, two trophies a season. It was the moment when football was my world. The Champions League, for example, has a very big impact, and it was also a moment when many people said Julio Cesar was the best goalkeeper in the world, It’s really good to feel this feeling … Without any hypocrisy, this is very good for our ego, for our vanity. For a boy who leaves Duque de Caxias, from the Rio de Janeiro Fluminense, and conquers what I have conquered, it is a source of great pride for me and for all my family.”
When did you understand that you could no longer carry on?
“In my last season, because in 2015/16 I suffered an injury at the end of the season, Ederson took my place and he did very well and from then on he always played. The manager of Benfica put his trust in a promising young man who has carried on doing exceptionally well. A little by little Ederson was sacrificed for my return and I was then brought back into the team, but then I had another injury.”