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Much traveled Brazilian defender lands in KC
by Ridge Mahoney, March 14th, 2011 9:59PM

TAGS:  kansas city wizards, mls


[MLS] This is his 14th professional team, so the fact that Julio Cesar has extensive experience can be regarded with admiration or anxiety.

Julio Cesar Santos Correa, 32, has signed with Sporting Kansas City following stints with clubs in Honduras, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, England, Mexico, Greece, Romania and Turkey. Real Madrid and AC. Milan are on his resume, as well as two spells with Spanish club Valladolid and brief flirtations with Austria Vienna, Bolton. and Dinamo Bucharest.

Players who move around a lot can cause concerns, but SKC coach Peter Vermes believes Julio Cesar can shore up the spine of a team that lost veteran centerback Jimmy Conrad to the Re-Entry Draft and central midfielder Jack Jewsbury in the Expansion Draft.

"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,” said Vermes in a team press release announcing the signing. “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.”

Julio Cesar was on trial with SKC during the preseason and has been signed as a discovery player. His salary hasn’t been disclosed and he’s not been classified as a Designated Player, as is Mexican attacker Omar Bravo.

“Major League Soccer is a new opportunity for me, and I am looking forward to being here in Kansas City,” Julio Cesar 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.”

SKC starts the season with 10 road games prior to its first match at Livestrong Sporting Park on June 9. It opens against Chivas USA at Home Depot Center on Saturday.

Julio Cesar's career started with Honduran club C.D. Marathon, yet he moved to Europe and at age 17 played for Valladolid, where he impressed sufficiently to earn a transfer to Real Madrid. He held down a regular place as the team reached the UEFA Champions’ League final, but was loaned out the following season to AC Milan, and from there bounced around Europe for most of the past decade aside from a season (2005-06) in Mexico with Tigres.

He played for back-to-back Greek League championship teams at Olympiakos from 2006 to 2008, then moved to Romania and Turkey. He went back to Portugal – Benfica (2001-02) is also among his former clubs -- last year to play for Maritimo, which released him.

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