Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brazil's No 1, the Park Ranger in Search of Redemption

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Brazil's No 1, the Park Ranger in Search of Redemption

Article excerpt

Byline: John Cross

ULIO CESAR has gone from park player to World Cup hero.

JCesar found himself out in the cold at Queens Park Rangers last season so just a few months ago he bought his own pair of gloves and secretly went down to his local park to get a game.

Brazil keeper Cesar eventually signed for ex-QPR team-mate Ryan Nelsen's MLS club FC Toronto on loan at the end of last season to get some games under his belt but had feared his World Cup dream had gone.

Cesar has now completed his remarkable comeback to be Brazil's No 1 and will have the hopes of a nation in his hands when they face Chile in the last 16 this afternoon.

Veteran Cesar, set for his 84th cap against Chile, said: "It was a complicated moment because I wasn't playing for my club because of contractual problems. "I'd have to go to the park by myself. I even bought some goalkeeper gloves because I didn't want my team to know about it.

"Then Toronto was something that happened out of nowhere. Overnight. After talking with a friend who had made that leap, I said, 'Why not?' "I really do have to thank Ryan Nelsen so much for this opportunity that he gave me. He said, 'Come here and I'll help you and you will be ready to play in the World Cup'.

"I'm so thankful for what they've done for me because if I hadn't been playing it would've been hard to play in the World Cup.

"I am improving with every game, improving my rhythm and enjoying every moment."

Cesar has not been a universally popular choice as Brazil's No 1 because of his lack of games but Luiz Felipe Scolari has backed him because of his experience and leadership qualities.

It is an incredible show of faith for Cesar, who has endured a nightmare two years at QPR - and has already been told there is no way back for him at Loftus Road.

So he could win the World Cup for Brazil and yet still be shown the door by QPR. …

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