Ex-Brazil keeper Julio Cesar bids winning farewell

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Rio de Janeiro, April 22 (IANS) Former Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar ended his football career in style as Flamengo defeated America Mineiro 2-0 in the Brazilian Serie A at the Maracana stadium.

The 38-year-old made a string of fine saves on Saturday in his final match, in which a first-half brace from Henrique Dourado was enough to secure Flamengo their first win of the Brazilian league season, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet. Maybe in two days I will wake up, look up to the heavens and say, ‘What am I going to do now?’,” said Cesar, who was Brazil’s first-choice goalkeeper at the last two World Cups.

“I want to see my family, kiss my mother and thank her for everything, and also see my dad and some friends who are here.

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“I cried a lot during the week with my friends and family. I let my emotions flow. I’m a guy who collects memories and you can be sure that this will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Saturday’s match was only Cesar’s second appearance since rejoining his original club on a three-month deal in January after parting ways with Portugal’s Benfica.

During the week he cited physical problems for his decision to decline an offer from Flamengo to extend his contract.

Having begun his career with Flamengo in 1998, Cesar moved to Europe in 2005 and enjoyed successful spells with Chievo, Inter Milan, Queens Park Rangers and Benfica.

His club career high-point came in 2010, when he won the UEFA Champions League with then Jose Mourinho-coached Inter Milan.

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–IANS

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