Goalkeeping great Júlio César puts his gloves back on to recreate some great saves from UEFA Europa League history. Can the Brazilian emulate stellar stops from Esteban Alvarado, Sergio Romero and Alexander Walke?
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Júlio César knows a thing or two about goalkeeping.
In this piece presented by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the former Inter No1 strives to emulate some of the greatest saves in UEFA Europa League history and, as we discovered, he may now be 42, but his goalkeeping instincts are still as sharp as ever.
In a career that spanned more than two decades, the Brazilian made over 500 appearances for club and country, a 2009/10 UEFA Champions League winners' medal with Inter the highlight of successful spells with the likes of the Nerazzurri, Benfica and Flamengo.
"I retired three years ago," he said after completing his goalkeeping obstacle course. "What did you do with me?!"
Esteban Alvarado (AZ 1-0 Anji, 2013/14)
AZ's Costa Rican goalkeeper flung himself backwards to get a hand to Aleksandr Bukharov's looping header, and then completed the job by clawing the ball off the line. It was an impressive double save that received a nod of appreciation from Júlio César.
It looked an awkward stop for the Brazilian to recreate, but he nailed it at the second time of asking.
Sergio Romero (Midtjylland 2-1 Man. United, 2015/16)
Júlio César approves of Sergio Romero – "Great keeper," he said of the former United player – and was mightily impressed by his strength as he dived to his left to claw away a Paul Onuachu header, despite being wrong-footed.
"He puts a lot of power in his leg and he did a great save," said Júlio César, who was also impressed by the Argentinian's follow-up block. It took a few attempts for the Brazilian to emulate the save, but he got it spot-on.
Alexander Walke (Salzburg 1-0 Leipzig, 2018/19)
It is hard to imagine how future Chelsea forward Timo Werner could have caught this shot from the edge of the box any sweeter, making Walke's flying, one-handed save toward his near post all the more impressive. "Great shot, great save," said Júlio César. "Amazing save."
Emulating Werner's splendid hit proved a challenge for the team, but the former Inter keeper managed to get his left hand in the right place when the opportunity arose.