- Julio Cesar spoke at a U-17 World Cup tournament team workshop
- The former Brazil goalkeeper offered a few inspirational words
- "The time has come to start enjoying the moment"
Before embarking on a senior international career that lasted nearly a decade, Julio Cesar represented Brazil between the posts at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Ecuador 1995.
The experience of playing in a world finals at such a tender age proved to be a valuable one. Among the many benefits was one that the Brazilian could not fail to notice: a shift in the way his career was perceived.
"When you’ve been fortunate enough to play at a U-17 World Cup, people in the football world start to look at you differently,” he told FIFA.com. "It’s almost as if you’re a player who stands out from the crowd."
The goalkeeper was speaking at a tournament team workshop held on Thursday 29 August for representatives of the 24 nations that will be taking part in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019. The event gave him the chance to offer a few inspirational words to those present.
In his view, the young players taking part in the competition need to strike a balance between maintaining their focus and enjoying the experience.
"With all the delegations here today on this unique occasion, the time has come to start enjoying the moment, even if the competition hasn’t started yet."
He had more or less the same message for his young compatriots. Given the fact they will be playing on home soil, however, he also had a few important pointers to add.
"Every kid dreams of playing for their country at a World Cup. It’s a unique opportunity and they have to enjoy it, but they also have to be focused and do a good job because not everyone gets to be a world champion.
"At the same time, they have to keep their nerves under control. There’s no doubt, though, that A Seleção are preparing well and have a very good coaching staff behind them. Playing in a World Cup at home is an incredible experience. It’s special."
In these days of round-the-clock social media, tournaments have an increasingly high profile, the main difference between now and the days when Cesar was starting out. "It was all on a smaller scale back then," he recalled.
The keeper retired from the game in 2018 following a career that brought him success wherever he went, proof that the people who began to think differently of him back in 1995 were right to do so.
Julio Cesar’s career honours
- Brazil: One Copa America title and two FIFA Confederation Cups
- Inter Milan: Five-time Serie A champion and a UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup winner in 2010
- Benfica: Three-time league champion and a Portuguese Cup winner in 2017
- Flamengo: Four-time Rio state champion