When Julio Cesar left BMO Field on May 3, it wasn’t supposed to be his last game with Toronto. Two weeks later, the Reds hosted New York. Only then would the Brazilian international leave for the World Cup, but after two months with TFC, buzz about a potentially longer stay had started to grow.
When illness kept him out of Saturday’s visit from New York, Cesar didn’t get his send off game at BMO. Now, after news his parent club in England wants him back, Cesar may not get another game in Toronto at all. Queens Park Rangers are expecting the 34-year-old back to return to London in August.
“I’m contracted to return in August after the World Cup, ” Cesar told Toronto media on Tuesday, “but I really don’t know what the future holds after the World Cup.”
Cesar, who joined Toronto this winter, is officially on loan through the end of the year. According to TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen, however, there is a “gentleman’s agreement” between the teams allowing QPR to recall their Brazilian international this summer.
Unless a new agreement is reached, Cesar’s stay in Major League Soccer looks destined to be a short one. Through an interpreter, he spoke to the Toronto media:
“I’m contracted still in England for a few more years …
“I’m still under contract for the next two years. So even if I win the World Cup, I’m going to keep to my word, I’m going to return to my club (QPR) and help them win championships. That’s what I was contracted to do, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
According to the Canadian Press, club sources acknowledge Cesar is unlikely to return.
Cesar started Toronto’s first seven games of the season before giving way on Saturday to Joe Bendnik, who posted a shutout against New York. Bendnik, traded to TFC last season, served as Toronto’s number one in 2013 and started the Reds’ two Canadian Championship matches against Vancouver.
Nelsen, while acknowledging Cesar’s contribution, also seemed prepared to deal with this goalkeeper’s departure.
“Julio’s been absolutely fantastic here and if he decides to stay, brilliant. But if he decides to move on and QPR decides to move on, then Toronto will move on — having had a great experience of Julio with us.”