After an ill-fated stay with Queens Park Rangers, goalkeeper Julio Cesar has been released, terminating his contract with the club and signing a two-year contract with Benfica on a free transfer.
The Portuguese club tweeted his arrival on Tuesday:
Bem-vindo Júlio César! | Welcome Júlio César! | Bienvenido Júlio César! pic.twitter.com/Nu1XWXk2Si— Sport Lisboa Benfica (@SL_Benfica) August 19, 2014
Likewise, QPR tweeted his departure from the London club earlier in the day:
Cesar had been contracted until 2016, but the club and player agreed to terminate that deal. After being demoted by QPR and relegated to the bench for the first half of last season in favor of Robert Green—and loaned to Toronto FC in February—the move hardly comes as a shock.
Cesar generally played well for both Toronto FC and the Brazilian national team in the 2014 World Cup as their starting 'keeper, though that team will be remembered for ending the tournament by losing to Germany, 7-1, and the Netherlands, 3-0.
That disappointing finish led to shocking stats like the one provided by Squawka Football:
Julio Cesar conceded more goals (14) at the 2014 World Cup than he made saves (9). pic.twitter.com/yIR1QvVftc— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 19, 2014
Of course, Cesar can hardly be blamed for the losses in those results. And against Chile in the round of 16, he made two key saves in the penalty shootout to help Brazil survive that contest.
A former star for Inter, Cesar's career took a turn for the worse after the 2010 World Cup, when several poor decisions by the 'keeper led to Brazil's demise in that tournament. His stint at QPR didn't help matters, and more than a few folks wondered if Cesar's best days were behind him.
With Toronto FC and Brazil, however, Cesar proved that he could still perform on a high level. With Benfica, he'll have the chance to prove that once again and compete for a Portuguese Liga title along the way.
On a free transfer, the move is a savvy one for the Portuguese giants, with them seeming to have added a first-choice 'keeper without splashing any cash to do so.
If Cesar can replicate the form that made him Brazil's first option in front of the net in the first place, Benfica will have come away with quite the tidy piece of business.