Júlio César, a star of Brazil’s deep World Cup run, is no longer a Major League Soccer player. After the thrill of seeing Toronto FC listed as his current club on official teamsheets in Brazil, the 34-year-old returned to parent club Queens Park Rangers on Friday, ending a five-month loan from the Premier League club.
“On behalf of everyone at Toronto FC, I’d like to send our sincere thanks to QPR for the opportunity to bring Júlio to Toronto,” general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said in a press release. “We’d also like to thank Júlio for everything he brought to our club. He made an immediate impact and all of us are better for it.”
César made seven appearances for the Reds, the same number as he made for Brazil at the 2014 World Cup, recording two clean sheets. In Brazil, he played 630 minutes for his country as the Seleção made the semifinals before losing to Germany, 7-1, and the Netherlands, 3-0, in the third-place match. His move to Toronto FC effectively reinvigorated César before the World Cup, as he didn’t make one league appearance for QPR in its season of promotion from the Championship.
His only minutes in 2013-14 came in the FA Cup third round, when Everton defeated QPR handily, 4-0. However, César’s strong play in North America showed form similar to what saw him considered as one of the world’s best goalkeepers in his time at Inter Milan, where he won five Scudettos and three Coppa Italia titles.
QPR was relegated from the Premier League after 2012-13, César’s first season with the team, and he was dropped to the bench due to a series of inconsistent appearances. Now that the team is back in the top flight, he will battle former England No. 1 Robert Green and Irishman Brian Murphy for a chance at redemption.
Joe Bendik is expected to reclaim the starting job for Toronto FC, which also has homegrown player Quillan Roberts and Chris Konopka on the goalkeeping depth chart. The club is currently in third place in the Eastern Conference, nine points behind first-place Sporting Kansas City with three games in hand. The Reds are eyeing their first playoff berth in franchise history.