Júlio César Soares de Espíndola, known as Júlio César, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. Júlio César spent seven years at Italian club Inter Milan, with whom he won five Scudetti, the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League, and the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup. He was awarded the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year title in both 2009 and 2010, and was nominated for the 2009 Ballon d’Or, where he was voted into 21st place. He was also named UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year after the 2009–10 season and won the Golden Glove award at the 2013 Confederations Cup. César won 87 international caps for Brazil. He was selected for the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, and two Copa América’s. Sadly, his national team legacy was stained after shipping seven goals in Brazil’s shock 7-1 defeat to Germany in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals.
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Ahead of the new 2010/2011 season, César changed his squad number from 12 to 1, which was vacated by the retired Francesco Toldo. His old squad number became part of newcomer Luca Castellazzi. On 21 August 2010, he won his 4th Supercoppa Italiana trophy; Inter faced Roma in a 3–1 comeback win at San Siro. In November 2010, the medical staff discovered a torn thigh injury at Júlio César and put his presence at FIFA Club World Cup in doubt. He was recovered in time and was called for the tournament, keeping a clean-sheet in the semi-final match against Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma. He kept his goal intact in the final as well which helped the team to win the trophy for the first time after defeating TP Mazembe 3–0. Inter thus completed the Quintuple to become the fourth team in the world after Liverpool in 2001, Al-Ahly in 2006 and Barcelona in 2009. Júlio César ended 2010 by being named second best goalkeeper of 2010 by IFFHS, only behind Iker Casillas. He was also named Inter Player of the Year for 2010 for his outstanding appearances throughout the year, receiving Pirata d’Oro Award. He finished 19th in the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or ranking, winning two places compare to last year ranking. His torn thigh injury reappeared at the beginning of 2011 which kept him sidelined for 28 days, missing 8 matches in the process. He returned on action on 30 January in the league match against Palermo and despite conceding twice in the first half, contributed by saving a Javier Pastore penalty and his rebound as well as Inter bounced back to win 3–2. In February, Júlio César made a poor performance in the first leg of 2010–11 UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Bayern Munich, as his weak save against Arjen Robben turned into a rebound Mario Gómez who scored for a 1–0 win at San Siro. He repeated the howler in the second leg as well, making another poor save against Robben only for Gómez to score again. However, he was decisive in a one-on-one save against Franck Ribéry and another one against Gómez; Inter eventually overturned the game and won 3–2, meaning they progressed on the away goal rule. In the Coppa Italia, he played in both legs of semi-final tie against Roma, keeping a clean-sheet in the first one as Inter reached the final for the second consecutive season, where they defeating Palermo to win the third trophy of the season.Júlio César finished 2010–11 campaign by making 39 appearances in all competitions, including 25 in league, where Inter failed to win the title for the first time after 5 seasons. In the Champions League, where Júlio César played 7 matches, the team lost the crown after being eliminated by Schalke 04 in the quarter-finals.
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Regarded by pundits as one of the best goalkeepers in the world in his prime, and as one of Brazil’s greatest goalkeepers ever, Júlio César was a well-rounded, commanding, and courageous goalkeeper, who was known for his athleticism, strength, and quick reflexes, as well as his agility, positional sense, shot-stopping, ability to read the game, and speed when rushing off his line. A left-footed goalkeeper, he was also known for his ball skills and distribution, as well as for his penalty stopping abilities. Júlio César was the starting keeper of Brazil under-17 squad in the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Ecuador. He kept clean-sheets in all three Group Cmatches, respectively against Germany, Oman and Canada, helping Brazil finish on top. Brazil eventually made their way to the final, also defeating their rivals Argentina in the semi-final, only to lose 3–2 to Ghana. Four years later, Júlio César was part of Brazil under-20 side in their 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship campaign. He was the second choice behind Fábio, making no appearances as Brazil was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Uruguay. Júlio César was first included in Brazil senior team for the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he did not play as the team was eliminated in the group stage. The next year, he was included in the squad for the 2004 Copa América, where he also made his first international appearance, starting in the opening Group C against Chile, keeping a clean-sheet as Seleção won 1–0. He become the 963rd player to play at least a match for Brazil. One of the best goalkeepers in the world in his prime, Júlio César was known for his athleticism, strength, and reflexes, as well as his agility, positional sense, shot-stopping, ability to read the game, and speed when rushing off his line. A left-footed goalkeeper, he is also known for his ball skills and distribution, as well as his penalty stopping. Júlio César is a Roman Catholic. He married Brazilian model and actress Susana Werner at the Candelária Church. Together, they have two children: Cauet, born in 2002, and Giulia, born in 2005. They both went to ACS Hillingdon International School. He is sponsored by Asics.
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Júlio César spend the majority of 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign on bench as Dida’s understudy, making only two appearances in both matches against Bolivia. He was included in the manager Carlos Alberto Parreira’s list for the final tournament, taking squad number 22 as the third keeper. He didn’t play in the tournament as Brazil was eliminated in the quarter-final by France. After the World Cup and the international retirement of Dida, the competition to became Brazil’s new first-choice goalkeeper began. He initially was out of favor, as new coach Dunga preferred Gomes, Helton and Doni ahead of him. However, he forced his way into the team and finally, he replaced Doni as first-choice goalkeeper in September 2007. Until that period, he had only 14 international caps to his name.
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In July 2005, following a deal between Chievo and Inter, Júlio César officially signed a three-year contract with Inter. The deal cost Inter €2.45 million.Júlio César was given squad number 12, and made his official debut on 10 August in the first leg of 2005–06 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round versus Shakhtar Donetsk, keeping a clean-sheet in the 2–0 win at RSC Olimpiyskiy. The 2006–07 season was even more successful for Júlio César and Inter, as the player and the team set several records in the league. He played 32 matches as the championship ended in conquest, with Inter winning it for the 15th time in history. He kept 12 clean-sheets and conceded 30 goals, with Inter losing only once; they won the title with 5 games to spare, and collected 97 points and setting a record for most consecutive matches without defeat, 31. On 31 July 2012, Júlio César stated his intention to leave Inter, saying, “They have been seven beautiful and successful years, but, in a few days, my adventure with the Inter shirt will end. I would like to thank all of you fans for the support you have given me and I hope you have a lot more success to enjoy.” He explained that the decision came after Inter suggested to reduce his salary, which Júlio César refused by stating: “no player in my situation would have done that”. He gave his farewell before the match against Vaslui, entering on the field accompanied by his children to greet the fans with an open letter written by himself.