EXCLUSIVE: I dream of winning the Premier League title with QPR, says new boy Cesar
21:45 GMT, 29 August 2012
It was a good year for Queens Park Rangers, 1967. They won the Third Division title and beat First Division West Bromwich Albion 3-2 in the first League Cup final to be held at Wembley. Alec Stock was the manager, Peter Springett was in goal and Rodney Marsh was among 11 Englishmen in the starting team. It was their most successful season.
Standards are somewhat higher in 2012. On Wednesday, they completed the signing of Julio Cesar from Inter Milan. A player who has won five League titles, eight cups and one Champions League at his last club is entitled to have great expectations. And QPR's new goalkeeper is not afraid to feel optimistic.
'I have many dreams at QPR,' said the smiling Brazilian, sitting down with Sportsmail for an exclusive chat about his move.
Family guy: Julio Cesar is bringing his wife Susanna and their children
Giulia and Cauet to London
'To play well for the fans, the manager, the chairman and myself. And eventually finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League and then one day win the Premier League.
'It is possible. A few years ago nobody believed Manchester City would ever win the Premier League. So we have to dream. When you dream, things can happen. That's the reason I came here.'
He has been watching clips of QPR on YouTube and has seen a video of the 5-0 defeat to Swansea on the opening day of this season.
Brazilian blend: Goalkeeper Julio Cesar will add to the South American influence at Queens Park Rangers
And he should know they have won only five trophies in their history, but he's here and he's ambitious. And he knows how to stop goals.
Cesar, 32 and Serie A goalkeeper of the year twice in the past four seasons, watched Tuesday's Capital One Cup win over Walsall and now he is nervously testing out his English which, by the way, is not bad at all for a beginner.
'I watched the game on Tuesday and it was good to see us win,' he says. 'We have a saying in Portuguese – pe quente. It literally means ''hot food'' but it's a saying that we use to mean a good omen. So I think I was that on Tuesday night.
'When I arrived at the ground there were lots of children all excited to see me. It was great. Loftus Road is of course a lot smaller than the San Siro but I walked around the ground and I liked it. I like that in England the fans are a lot closer to the pitch. The stadiums in England are much better than in Italy. The pitch at Loftus Road is perfect, it is unbelievable.'
Unbelievable is how many Rangers fans will view having a keeper of Cesar's calibre at the club. At Inter, under Jose Mourinho, Cesar was voted the third-best goalkeeper in the world (Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon were first and second) and a flick through his best clips on YouTube will tell you why. His reactions are lightning quick and he looks comfortable on crosses, a key in the Premier League.
'London is a big attraction,' he said. 'It is one of the two or three best cities to live in the whole world. It reminds me of New York. It's perfect for my future too. I can speak a bit of English now but coming here gives me the opportunity to learn it really well. I'm a little bit shy speaking English at the moment. I don't trust myself so I'll start studying next week and hopefully in six months to a year I will speak really, really well. I'm very, very happy. It's a new experience for me and my family. The opportunity to play in the Premier League, the best football in the world. I can't wait to train, I can't wait to play.'
He's Inter QPR: Cesar admitted he researched the Loftus Road club before his arrival
'I want us to reach the top four. It can happen, as it did for Man City'
Playing would not have happened much this season if he had stayed at Inter. Samir Handanovic was brought in during the summer, with the club needing to shed high earners after failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan and star defender Lucio are among the others to depart.
'Inter suggested that I reduce my salary, but no player in my situation would have done that. It became a tough situation for both parties. But I want to thank president Massimo Moratti for the seven wonderful years we have had together.
Competition: Green could lose the No 1 jersey after arriving only in the summer from West Ham
'I'll ask him to let me go on the pitch before the match between Inter and Roma this weekend so I can give a collective hug to all the fans. That would be a nice gesture.'
Once he knew he was going, unsurprisingly, there was no shortage of options. As well as a concrete offer this week from Roma, who made a last-ditch call on Tuesday to attempt to stop him joining QPR, Tottenham and Arsenal were also in the frame. Arsenal decided they were happy with Wojciech Szczesny while Andre Villas-Boas decided against bringing in a player so associated with his rival Mourinho.
Welcome to QPR: Fernandes greets Cesar
'Two weeks ago I found out QPR were interested,' he says. 'I don't watch much football on TV but when I found out I could be coming to QPR, I went to Google and YouTube to read about the club, the players and to see how many Brazilians there are in the squad. There's Fabio, of course, and Jose Bosingwa speaks Portuguese too. Now I know a little bit about them. I didn't read too much because I'm a bit lazy with reading but I'll learn more each day.'
Cesar is under no illusion about the
task that lies ahead as Mark Hughes' No 1. Watching Rangers' opening day
thrashing by Swansea sorted that out.
'I saw the first game. Wow! It was terrible for them and they had some
problems but these things happen in football. When I met the coach I
asked him what happened in the first game. But they drew away in the
second game (1-1 at Norwich) and that's a good result.'
up for Cesar – assuming that he is fit and chosen ahead of Robert Green
- is Saturday's trip to champions Manchester City.
'I hope to be the No 1, but I have to work hard. I have the ability but
I know the Premier League is hard. My first game could be against my
first coach in Europe. Roberto Mancini brought me to Inter. They have
done well but we have to believe we can beat them.'
almost did last season in the final-day nailbiter which saw City win
3-2 to seize the title but a result against Carlos Tevez – 'he is so
good' – and the rest of Mancini's superstars will not be easy.
'It's going to be a lot more physical here,' he admitted. 'The referees don't give fouls easily. In Italy, it's different. Here, if you fall down, you just have to stand right back up and get on with the game. I know (Tottenham's) Heurelho Gomes very well; we went to the World Cup together. So I'm going to speak to him about playing here.
'I've played against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham. I like Wayne Rooney a lot. He is so good – up there with the best in the world.'
Cesar should know. He's been there.