Recently hired Toronto FC manager Ryan Nelsen made it very clear that he wants a team that resembles himself: strong, dedicated, smart, tough to beat.
On Tuesday, the club made it's first move in that direction, announcing the signing of former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Julio Cesar.
“It’s important that Toronto FC becomes a more difficult team to play against this year. Julio Cesar will be an important part of the backbone of our team in the middle of the field,” Toronto FC President and General Manager Kevin Payne said in a statement. “He’s a tough, experienced, committed player who was a big part of Sporting Kansas City’s success over the past two years, and we’re very pleased he will be a part of TFC this season.”
The terms of the agreement were not released.
Julio Cesar, 34, spent the last two seasons with Sporting KC where was a vital defensive cog in the middle of the midfield for Peter Vermes's attack-minded team. The Brazilian made 54 appearances and scored three goals in the regular season Sporting. His last was one of the goals of the year, a one-time volley on a corner kick, which, coincidentally enough, came against Toronto.
He made four playoff appearances during the 2011 and 2012 MLS Playoffs for the team, and also played an important role in SKC's run to the 2012 US Open Cup title, going the full 120 minutes in the dramatic final against the Seattle Sounders.
Before MLS, Julio Cesar had an extensive career in his in Europe, including stints with Real Madrid, AC Milan, Benfica, Austria Wien, Real Valladolid, Bolton Wanderers, Tigres UNAL, Olympiacos FC, FC Dinamo Bucuresti, Gaziantepspor, and Maritimo Funchal.