Julio Cesar Caceres can hardly be described as one of the most entertaining players in the game today. Yet that does not mean to say his wholehearted endeavour and commitment are not appreciated by Paraguay fans, who have long since taken the man they call El Emperador to their hearts.
The combative defender started out with his hometown club Sportivo San Jose, where he was soon made captain. Highly regarded in regional circles, he travelled with his father to Asuncion in 1998 to try his luck with the country’s leading teams. After impressing at Olimpia, he was given a professional contract at the age of 19 and quickly established himself as a club icon.
He won the league title with El Decano in 2000, which was followed two years later by the Copa Libertadores and the Recopa Sudamericana in 2003. His notable success at club level paved the way for a place in the Paraguay team at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, where he was a mainstay of the side that advanced to the Round of 16 before narrowly losing out to eventual runners-up Germany.
Caceres left Olimpia for Nacional in 2004, staying for one season before embarking on a footballing odyssey that took him to Nantes, Atletico Mineiro, River Plate, Gimnastic Tarragona, Tigres and Boca Juniors, where he won the Argentinian Apertura and the Recopa Sudamericana in 2009. The much-travelled defender has since returned to Atletico Mineiro in Brazil, where he enjoys an excellent rapport with the fans.
Solid and secure wherever he has played, the much-respected Caceres remains a cornerstone of Gerardo Martino’s side and will be marshalling the Albirroja defence once more at South Africa 2010, his third world finals.