5 Potential Long-Term Successors to Julio Cesar as Brazil Goalkeeper
Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar staged a remarkable comeback to rescue his international career last year and find a path into the national side for the 2014 World Cup, but most agree that his time with the national team has now come to an end.
Having been Brazil's first-choice goalkeeper for extended spells of the past decade, his omission would leave Dunga without a glaringly obvious replacement already in and around the squad setup.
Often derided for its goalkeeping options, it is simply untrue that Brazil does not possess excellent goalkeepers. However, there is a real case to be made that there is currently none befitting of automatic inclusion in the national team.
Who, then, are the leading candidates to help take the national team into a new era?
Now in his sixth season with Botafogo, 31-year-old Jefferson has consistently been in and around the Brazil setup for some time, amassing nine caps in the process.
Often a captain when only domestic-based players are considered, he is well regarded for his leadership qualities and rounded skill set by those within the national team hierarchy.
He lacks the flamboyancy or elaboration of some of his rivals, but in a period when no such player truly stands out, his dependability and standing within the dressing room could be a real asset on the pitch.
Now 25, Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto enjoyed his first season as first choice for the Viola last campaign and impressed, securing the berth for the immediate future.
Formerly of Atletico Paranaense, he was a member of the squad that finished second at the 2012 Olympic Games but has little further involvement with the national team.
Given his prominent position with a club of reasonable standing in the European game, he will be hard to ignore, and another good season could see him jump to near the top of the queue.
Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves is perhaps unlucky not to already be the established first choice for his country, having performed admirably in the role under Mano Menezes.
With Luiz Felipe Scolari's ascension to the role of head coach in December of 2012, though, he was cast aside in favour of QPR-owned Julio Cesar and has been seen little since.
His seven years of La Liga experience count heavily in his favour, while at 29 he is at the ideal stage of his career for the next four-year cycle. He appears most likely to add to his seven caps when Brazil next take the field in September.
The outstanding keeper of the Brasileirao over the past two seasons, penalty specialist Victor would be first choice for many in his homeland.
At 31, he should still be in good condition come the next World Cup and has years of high-level performances with Gremio and Atletico Mineiro.
A commanding presence in the penalty area and an excellent shot-stopper, he would be capable of stepping up to the role and a popular candidate after his Copa Libertadores heroics of 2013.
When he starred in helping Santos to the 2011 Copa Libertadores title, it seemed predestined that Rafael would be first Brazil's goalkeeper for the Olympic Games and then the national team beyond.
However, injury in the run-up to the London Games saw him drop out of the squad, while both himself and the Santos side as a whole failed to recapture their previous glories.
A move to Napoli last summer brought a further hitch, as the arrival of Rafael Benitez saw the Spaniard seek to bring in an ally in Pepe Reina, while his season ended early through injury.
Now, though, he is set to be Napoli's first choice and a leading candidate for the same role with his country.
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