TORONTO – Júlio César was understandably excited to hear officially that he’ll be part of the Brazilian national team for this summer’s World Cup, but the Toronto FC goalkeeper first has work to do.
“Obviously the World Cup is a big event, it’s on the world stage, but right now my focus is on helping Toronto FC,” he told reporters at Tuesday’s training session. “I want to leave them in a great place before I go to the World Cup.”
The legendary shot-stopper, who joined Toronto FC on loan from Queens Park Rangers, has played in all six of Toronto’s games this season. He’s conceded seven goals in a strong start to his MLS career. And while that may be good enough for some, he said it wasn’t good enough for his standards.
“No, I’m not happy because I think every goalkeeper hates conceding goals,” Júlio César said jokingly. “I think it’s too many goals for me.”
Regardless, his performances have ensured that he will be heading to the World Cup this summer. Brazilian head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari told press last week that Júlio César was one of the four captains of his national side.
He’ll have five more games, starting at home Saturday against the New England Revolution (1 pm ET; UDN & MLS Live in US, TSN2 in Canada) to improve his form before he said he’d depart for national-team camp. He’ll stay with TFC through May 23 when they take on Sporting Kansas City.
Júlio César confirmed that he and Scolari did talk three days ago.
“I asked him to come here to visit us, to see the training ground and everything, to come to the MLS to see a game,” Júlio César said. “I saw on a website he went to London to see some players, he went to Germany, and I was a bit jealous. So I told him to come here as well: ‘It’s a nice league, and you’ll be surprised.’”
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It’s a league that Júlio César has also adjusted to quickly – he earned the MLS Save of the Week award last week, though he didn’t know about initially.
“I feel good,” he said with a big smile. “It’s nice. I didn’t know that, and my friends sent me the picture, the votes and I was surprised, but at the same time, happy – for my ego, it’s good, no?”
And six games into his MLS adventure, Júlio César said he’s happy with the quality of the league and that it’s comparable to other leagues around the world.
“The thing I noticed the most was the level of the organization here,” he added. “The stadium was always packed, and I wasn’t expecting that. I think that MLS is a top-class league, a world-class league.”