Sporting Kansas City announced on Monday that the club has signed 32-year-old Brazilian defender Júlio César. César joins Kansas City after previously playing for some of the most successful clubs in the sport, including tenures with Real Madrid and A.C. Milan.
“The wealth of experience that he has received playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world will be very valuable for us over the course of a 34-game MLS season,” Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. “Although he has to get fully acclimated to our team in the short term, I think that his experience and playing ability will be invaluable to us throughout the upcoming season.”
César is Sporting Kansas City’s first discovery signing of the 2011 season and will fulfill an international spot on the team’s senior roster. He has trained with the team throughout the pre-season as a guest trialist and will be available for Sporting Kansas City’s season opener on Saturday, March 19th at Chivas USA in Carson, California.
“Major League Soccer is a new opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to being here in Kansas City,” César said. “This is a very important year for us with the new name for the team and the new stadium, and this week is important to try and start off the season on a winning note.”
César started his playing career for Honduran side C.D. Marathón, but by age 17 made a move to Europe for Real Valladolid in Spain’s La Liga. He played in 25 matches and helped the club qualify for the UEFA Cup.
After more than 60 appearances with Valladolid, he received attention from Spanish giants Real Madrid and was signed in 1999. César featured regularly in his first season in Madrid, and helped the club advance to the UEFA Champions League final.
César was then loaned to A.C. Milan and briefly played in Italy’s Serie A before returning to Spain to play for Real Sociedad and Benfica. Following a short stop at Austria Wien, César was welcomed back by Valladolid.
In 2004, César transferred to the English Premier League to join the Bolton Wanderers but suffered a broken foot against Manchester United. Upon recovering, he committed to playing for Tigres UANL in Mexico and contributed four goals while anchoring the defense.
His offensive output continued the following season for Olympiacos in Greece, where he scored seven goals in two seasons as the club won back-to-back league titles.
César would continue to be coveted by top teams in Europe, featuring for FC Dinamo Bucuresti in Romania and Gaziantepspor in Turkey. Prior to signing with Sporting Kansas City, he was with Portuguese club Maritimo Funchal.
After debuting in the 1997 UEFA Cup at age 18 for Vallodolid, César went on to appear in the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, A.C. Milan and Olympiacos. He won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid in 1999-2000 and then scored in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid while playing for Olympiacos. César also has experience in the UEFA Europa League with Austria Wien and Dinamo Bucuresti, as well as competitive action in the Copa Libertadores with Tigres UANL.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Júlio César
Birthplace: São Luís, Maranhao, Brazil
Last Club: Marítimo Funchal (Portugal)