Mourinho arrived at Inter in the summer of 2008 after leaving Chelsea under a cloud a few months earlier, and left on a high in 2008 after transforming the club into treble winners in just two years.
He forged close relationships with a number of players in that squad, including key defenders Marco Materazzi and Lucio, with Cesar another to benefit hugely – he was considered by many to be among the best goalkeepers in the world at that time.
“Mourinho was more than a father to me when I was at Inter,” the former Brazilian international told ESPN.
“In only two years, Mourinho and his staff helped win everything. Inter contracted Mourinho to win the Champions League. Inter had success in that period winning Serie A, but the Champions League was different.
“The club had not won it for 42 years. Within two years, Mourinho had won it. It was a heroic win. That Inter team and Mourinho will be in the hearts of Inter supporters forever.”
Mourinho’s Inter became the first and still only Italian team to complete a famous league, cup and European Cup treble. Cesar, who is still playing for Benfica at the age of 38, was less successful on the international stage, despite 10 years as a Brazil player.
Cesar made his debut two years after Brazil’s last World Cup triumph in 2002 and was involved in the infamous 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Germany in the tournament on home soil in 2014. In two previous World Cups, he had never been past the quarter finals.
He has higher expectations for the Selecao now, though, labelling them as ‘one of the favourites’.
“I think Brazil has a very good chance of winning the World Cup. We have a coach who is doing a great job since the moment he joined. We’re one of the favourites. For me, Neymar is the best player in the world today,” Cesar explained.
[Ederson is] ready to play in the World Cup and he’s got all the ingredients to be the best goalkeeper in the world…[Gabriel Jesus] went to Europe young and straight into the Premier League, but he did well immediately. He’s a player who we will hear a lot about.”
“[Tite’s] given an identity to Brazil. He worked hard, got Brazil playing well. We were very strong in the qualifying group; a very tough qualifying group. Losing only one game from 18 when you play all those really strong countries is fantastic.”