Olympiakos looks to Brazil once again

Brazilian central defender Julio Cesar, who spent the previous season with Mexican first-division club Tigres, one of several clubs in the player’s career, looked set to transfer to Greek champion Olympiakos last night. Local reports said Cesar, 28, was expected to arrive at Athens International Airport late last night to sign a three-year contract with the Piraeus team today, assuming he passes his medical examination. His expected deal is believed to be worth 700,000 euros per annum. Tigres will reportedly receive approximately 1 million euros to release the player. Just prior to departure from Mexico yesterday, Cesar was quoted as telling reporters that he was flying to Spain for five days to solve family matters, while adding that «I belong to Tigres and will return.» However, the Brazilian boarded a flight for Athens instead. Reports claimed that Cesar misinformed Mexican press to avoid heated reaction from disappointed Tigres fans. It was also reported that, at the time of the Brazilian’s remarks, his agent was already in Greece to negotiate the fine print on the player’s contract. Cesar joined Spanish club Real Valladolid, where he spent three seasons, before transferring to Real Madrid. He was a member of the squad that won the Champions League in 2000. At the end of that season, Cesar switched to AC Milan before moving on to a series of clubs, including Real Sociedad, Benfica, and Austria Wien. He spent the 2004-2005 season with Bolton in the English Premiership, but a foot injury forced him to miss many games. Cesar joined Tigres last year, where he was a key defender for the Mexican club. In other club news, the possibility of a move by Ze Roberto, a key member of Brazil’s team at the World Cup Finals in Germany, was revived by an announcement that he would not be moving from Bayern Munich to Milan, one of the Italian clubs linked to the country’s soccer scandal. The player’s agent said he would wait for a formal offer from Olympiakos. Meanwhile, Olympiakos coach Trond Sollied, commenting on Rivaldo’s announcement earlier this week that the upcoming season would be his career’s last, said, «Everything comes to an end at some point.» «The decision is, and has to be, his own,» Sollied said. «No doubt his departure will be loss for Olympiakos and soccer in general. He is a great player with a major career respected by all… Bottles containing the finest of wines unfortunately run dry eventually.»