In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning goalkeeper Julio Cesar in 7th spot.
Julio Cesar will go down as one of the greatest goalkeepers ever to play for Inter. His ability and attitude also ensured he was loved by all football fans around the world.
We were lucky to see a player like Julio Cesar in a special period of Inter’s history. Let’s look a bit further into his Inter career.
Bar set high –
Inter’s previous goalkeepers were special. Fans were used to the likes of Pagliuca and Toldo protecting Inter’s goal, and wanted that tradition of great goalkeepers to continue.
Up steps a 25 year old Brazilian to take the reins for Inter. Someone who hadn’t played a single minute in Italy. The previous year before Inter sign Cesar, he sat on the bench at Chievo for 3 matches.
In 2005/06, Inter signed Cesar from Chievo for the low fee of €2.45mil, which was an absolute steal we would later find out.
The first year would be a successful one, as Cesar would help Inter claim their first Serie A title in 17 years. For Cesar individually, he would make 40 appearances in all competitions winning three trophies in total.
A very successful debut season, considering he kept Toldo out of the starting team who before that had been fantastic for Inter over the years.
Strength to Strength –
During the first few years, we would see Cesar grow by leaps and bounds. Every match we were seeing a much more improved Cesar, as Inter were also building something special.
In the season of 2005/06, none of the other teams in Serie A really stood a chance against Inter on their day. Inter would go on to win the league with 5 games remaining, and in the process set a Serie A record with 31 games undefeated.
The fantastic Julio Cesar became an absolutely crucial piece of the puzzle for Inter. Seasons would go by and more trophies were collected along the way, as Inter quickly became the powerhouse of Italy. The next aim was Europe!
The Treble season –
This was by far Cesar’s best season in an Inter jersey. We would see Cesar play in all 38 Serie A matches and 13 Champions League fixtures without missing a single game.
Cesar turned 31 years of age at the start of the season. He was at an age where goalkeepers start to hit the peak of their career, and this was definitely true about Cesar too.
The 2010 final of the Champions League is one of the most special moments in Inter’s history. Thinking back to that game, celebrating victory may not have been possible without the likes of Cesar.
In this match there were two incredible saves made by Julio. The first was a save point-blank on a Muller shot. Luckily Cesar was able to get his feet in front of the ball deflecting the ball out of danger.
The second shot was from Robben where he made one of his trademarks runs, cut in from the right and then attempted to curl the ball in the opposite corner. Again, Cesar was up to the task as he parried the ball out for a corner.
The score was 1-0 when both of these saves occurred. So imagine if one of them went in, then we would’ve had a different game on our hands.
Fortunately for Inter, the match was won 2-0 and the rest is history. Julio Cesar will forever go down as being the goalkeeper who helped Inter become the first Italian team to win the treble.
Julio being Julio –
Let’s set the scene. So the year is 2011/12 and Inter are versing Milan at the San Siro. The tensions are high, as Inter are looking to keep in touch with Champions League qualification and Milan are fighting for the Scudetto.
Inter take an early lead 1-0 through a simple Milito tap in. Just before half time Julio comes out to make a challenge on Boateng and cleanly gets the ball. Seconds later, the referee makes a terrible decision and points to the spot for a Milan penalty.
This is where the fun begins. Up steps Zlatan and straight away Julio’s mind games come out. Julio stands behind the goals just letting the pressure build on Zlatan.
He then walks up to Zlatan and gets in his face smiling and laughing. Cesar slowly walks back to his mark and says “Why don’t you hit it down the middle!” as he pokes out his tongue with a cheeky wink.
Unfortunately Zlatan would score the goal so all those mind games were in vain, but funny none the less. Cesar would go on to laugh last as Inter 4-2 in the end.
We will be visiting number 6 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 6 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?
As always Forza Inter!