Julio Cesar: Inter are Juventus' only Scudetto rivals

The ex-Nerazzurri glovesman is adamant his former club pose the only threat to the Old Lady in defence of their Serie A title, while giving his take on the Derby d'Italia
Julio Cesar believes Inter are Juventus' only rivals in the hunt for the Scudetto this season, as he looks ahead to Saturday's Derby d'Italia between the two sides.

The Nerazzurri currently occupy second place in Serie A, just four points behind the current pace setters and reigning champions at the summit, leading to increased expectations that this campaign will be fought out by the northern Italian giants.

And the Brazilian goalkeeper, now at QPR, insists his former club must approach the match with no fear, given their hot pursuit of the Old Lady in the standings, before praising coach Andrea Stramaccioni and casting his mind back to a memorable past clash.

"Juve must be attacked," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Why shouldn't they? Inter seem to be their most serious rivals, perhaps the only one. Even more so than Napoli, who cannot find the same consistency as Inter.

"I've had time to learn about the philosophy of [Andrea] Stramaccioni, with whom I wanted to work more. He has a nice way of seeing football in a humble light to hear the views of everyone, but never has fear.

"It is more than just a game. I won't forget Maicon's goal in the 2-0 win [over Juventus] in 2010 and the yellow shirt I wore that day.

"[Jose] Mourinho explained to me that a colourful jersey poses more difficulties for opposing forwards."

Cesar was ousted out of the Giuseppe Meazza this summer and replaced by Samir Handanovic, who arrived from Udinese, but the former Selecao No.1 does not bear any grudges to the Slovenian, instead highlighting his replacement's most notable traits.

"With Handanovic, he has grown so much," Julio Cesar added. "And it was a good deal: they paid the right price for him.

"He and I have differences in that we parry differently. I feel more like [Iker] Casillas, whereas he reminds me more of [Gianluigi] Buffon."

"I like [Chievo goalkeeper Stefano] Sorrentino, but I would say that today Handanovic has nothing to be envious of about Buffon."

Julio Cesar then explained that he was made to feel "sad" by Inter management during the summer, prior to his transfer deadline-day switch to Loftus Road in August, but a conversation with president Massimo Moratti ensured he left on amicable terms.

"Well, a phonecall directly to me to say that I was not longer part of the project would have made me feel less of a stranger," the ex-Flamengo shot stopper continued.

"I was sad, at least until I spoke with Moratti. I wanted to clarify some things, that had become distorted. Now it remains an open door.

"It does not mean that I will return to Inter one day, but it does mean that seven years of being together and 14 trophies were not evaporated. For me, Inter are now focused on financial fair play."

The custodian's new side currently languish at the bottom of the Premier League, without a win in nine games and are four points from safety, but Cesar is confident that the R's will eventually gel, having purchased 11 new players during the summer, while he also hopes to work his way back into the Brazil squad.

"I'm not worried, we have 11 new players, it's just a matter of finding an identity. Therefore we need more time," Julio Cesar noted.

"I'm not happy, I'm more than that. London is wonderful and English football is too. When you have won everything like I have, a project like QPR's is appealing.

"If I keep playing like I did against Arsenal [in the 1-0 defeat], then my place in the national team is safe. I do not know if I will be a starter, but in the meantime I can go back and dream [of World Cup 2014]."