Assessing Julio Cesar's Contribution for QPR and Where His Future Lies
While QPR's second season since returning to the Premier League was nothing short of an unmitigated disaster, for goalkeeper Julio Cesar it was a campaign that brought great personal successes.
Having arrived at the club last August on a free transfer from Serie A giants Inter Milan, there were many who saw the move as the beginning of the end for the giant Brazilian's career.
After all, in his final campaign at the San Siro, Cesar had been far from impressive. A series of individual errors littered his performances, while he had been removed from the Brazil setup following failure at the 2011 Copa America.
Ambitious QPR, though, offered a shot at redemption, and, while others to pull on the blue and white hoops this year may have failed to impress, the Brazilian set about restoring his once formidable reputation.
The Rs may not have won as many points as they would have hoped this season, which ultimately ended in an embarrassing relegation, but it cannot be said that Cesar did not contribute.
Indeed, had it not been for some of the former Flamengo star's heroics, they may not have even amassed the number of points they did.
He was getting plenty of practice shot-stopping behind a defence with more holes than Swiss cheese, but there was also visible improvement throughout the season in terms of Cesar's command of his area. While he was accused of "flapping" at crosses in early appearances, his restored confidence would bring much improved all-around displays.
There were mistakes, that is to be expected. In the second half of the campaign, a groin strain was a persistent source of difficulty for the Brazilian and led to a couple of poor performances. In general, though, the Brazilian could not be faulted for his performances or attitude.
On a reported wage of between £70-90,000-a-week, though, there is no doubt that he will leave the Loftus Road side this summer. The club simply cannot afford to pay such wages in the Championship.
While the goalkeeper has kept his next destination under wraps thus far, he did confirm to the media last week that he has been told to look for a new club this summer:
"It is confidential. My future today is a question mark," he told SporTV (H/T Football365). "I have three more years on my contract, but the manager has already made it clear that it will be hard for me to stay at the club."
Of course, he could sit out the rest of his current deal at QPR and reap the financial rewards that staying would bring. However, having worked so hard to win back his place in the Brazil national team, that is surely not an option with just one year until the 2014 World Cup.
According to the Mirror newspaper, it is Arsenal who are in pole position for the goalkeeper's signature this summer. The report, though, suggests there are several players in line to take the Gunners' No. 1 shirt this summer, with Cesar just one of the options.
A return to Brazil has been ruled out by the player, who hopes to continue his career in Europe for the time being. (Football 365) There will no doubt be many interested parties across the continent, although wages could be a potential stumbling block.
The only door the 'keeper would appear to have closed is on a return to Milan—either with former side Inter, or with rivals AC Milan. (Football Italia) Remaining in the Premier League, and in London, has been a stated preference, breathing life into the Arsenal rumours.
It may not, though, be the player's choice. QPR will be keen to offload his salary, while he himself will keen to end speculation over his future quickly. Ahead of the World Cup, he simply cannot afford to fall out of the public eye.
The Confederations Cup is fast approaching, and Julio Cesar will be an integral figure for the selecao at the event. A few good performances in that event, and the race for his capture could quickly hot up.
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