His namesake at Inter Milan may get more press worldwide, but Corinthians goalkeeper Julio Cesar is on his own pathway to glory.
The 26-year-old shot-stopper has played a crucial role in his side’s attempts at a fifth Brazilian Serie A title, and they’re fate will be known after the last round of fixtures this weekend.
Corinthians need to overcome the relegated Goias on Sunday and hope first-placed Fluminense slip up and at least draw at home to another relegated side, Guarani.
Cesar was a part of the squad that won the national title in 2005, and despite not getting much time in the first team, will use his experience on the league’s final day to steer his side to the title.
“I was part of the squad so I consider myself a champion,” Cesar said.
Despite starting this season in the shadows of preferred goalkeepers such as Felipe Dos Santos and Aldo Bobadilla, Cesar rose above both to claim the number one spot, and has not relinquished it.
“We are always prepared because we train a lot at a big club like Corinthians. Football is very dynamic, you only get one chance,” he said.
“We go on the pitch prepared but we never know what is going to happen. If you go in and don’t play well people start doubting you and you’re out of the starting line-up, but things have gone well for me.”
Cesar has kept four clean sheets in his past five matches, but said his role is not a numbers game.
“It’s not just about goals, it’s also about great saves, so the keeper has to appear a lot. I am very happy that I am going through a good phase like this,” he said.
In spite of his own stellar form, Cesar credits Corinthians’ major push for the title to their recently appointed manager, Tite.
“Everyone has his importance, but the most important thing was the arrival of Tite to bring our confidence back,” Cesar said.
“He recovered what we left behind in the seven games without a win. We have a good team, a winning group, there are players who have already won important titles. So our group makes the difference.”
The battle for the title between Corinthians and Fluminense will be decided when the season’s final matches kick off at 1900GMT on Sunday.