Flamengo goalkeeper Julio Cesar says goodbye to fans on April 21, 2018, following a 2-0 win over America Mineiro at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, his last match before retiring from professional soccer. EPA-EFE/Gilvan de Souza/Club Flamengo
Rio de Janeiro, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- Flamengo beat America Mineiro 2-0 in goalkeeper Julio Cesar’s last match, a Brazilian league clash full of emotion for the player and his teammates in Rio de Janeiro.
Julio Cesar, the goalkeeper who stunned Lionel Messi with his saves and endured Germany’s seven-goal blitz at the 2014 World Cup, called it a career on Saturday night at Maracana Stadium.
The 38-year-old goalkeeper, who started and ended his career with Flamengo, played his last match as his wife and children looked on.
Flamengo fans packed Maracana Stadium to express their appreciation for Julio Cesar, chanting his name as he did a victory lap around the field after the win over America Mineiro.
During his 20-year professional career, Julio Cesar played in 444 club-level matches and 87 matches with the Brazilian national team, competing in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
In 2010, Julio Cesar helped Inter Milan win the UEFA Champions League title.
Julio Cesar was at his best in the semis against Barcelona that year, frustrating Lionel Messi with his saves.
In addition to Flamengo, Julio Cesar played for Inter Milan, Chievo Verona, Portugal’s Benfica, the Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers and Toronto FC in Major League Soccer (MLS).
The goalkeeper won 13 titles with Inter, including a Champions League crown and a FIFA Club World Cup championship, and he helped Benfica win four titles in Portugal.
The low point in Julio Cesar’s career undoubtedly came at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Germany blew out the South American soccer powerhouse 7-1 in the semifinals, embarrassing Brazilians.