Seeing a grown man cry is always a strange feeling. Knowing that those tears aren’t from pain, but from emotions, from joy, from feelings that burn inside and that are impossible to hide, is even more moving. Think about Julio Cesar. Think about the times you’ve seen him with his eyes glistening, his voice breaking. On all of those occasions, he was wearing an Inter shirt. No, he wasn’t a fragile man. Those tears were the result of his unconditional love for our colours, of his emotions at the things we achieved, and of his pure and uncontainable joy at each our successes.
Julio Cesar Soares Espindola. He was born in Duque de Caxias in the state of Rio de Janeiro on 3 September 1979, and he arrived in Italy in January 2005. His first six months spent on loan at Chievo provided a time both to acclimatise and to learn. Watching, taking it all in, he didn’t play, but he was just waiting for his moment. Then it was at Inter that he met Francesco Toldo, incidentally a Nerazzurri Hall of Famer in the year 2019. They became two goalkeepers who painted the most beautiful of pictures over the course of those extraordinary years. Julio, with the number 12 on his back, soon climbed up the pecking order. Taking over as number 1 is never easy, but it was never a rivalry with Toldo.
Describing his explosiveness, his ability to read situations, all of the incredible saves he used to make, seems an unnecessary task. Julio Cesar was one of the best goalkeepers of his era, he followed in the footsteps of some of the most extraordinary Nerazzurri goalkeepers, a path started by Giuliano Sarti and continued by so many more, from Bordon to Zenga, from Pagliuca to Toldo. And then to him, Julio.
His diving save to keep out Messi, his stop on Ronaldinho’s penalty, his punches, his kicks, keeping out Müller’s effort in Munich. Flashes, unforgettable moments and immortal saves that lifted him and his teammates to the heights of Italy, of Europe, of the world. He was our Dreamcatcher: he caught all of our Nerazzurri dreams, he cradled them in his gloves, and he handed them right to us. He brought them to life and they’re still shining today, glinting both on the trophies and in his eyes.
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