A Champions League winner with Inter in 2010, at 34, Julio Cesar lost his place to Rob Green at the start of QPR's Championship campaign and says he could not play because of "contractual problems."
As such, Cesar had to train by himself, go to the park alone and even buy his own goalkeeper's gloves.
Now, the Brazilian has reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup with his national side after a spell on loan at FC Toronto and has expressed his thanks to the MLS side's boss Ryan Nelsen.
“It was a complicated moment because I wasn’t playing for my club because of contractual problems," he told reporters.
“I’d have to go to the park by myself. I even bought some goalkeeper gloves because I didn’t want my team to know about it.
“Then, Toronto was something that happened out of nowhere - overnight. After talking with a friend who had made that leap, I said, ‘Why not?’
“I have to thank Ryan so much for this opportunity. He said, ‘Come here and you will be ready to play in the World Cup’.
“If I hadn’t been playing it would’ve been hard to play in the World Cup. I am improving with every game, improving my rhythm and enjoying every moment.”
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As Opta stats show, Cesar has been an ever-present for Luiz Felipe Scolari's Brazil side so far this World Cup, keeping one clean sheet and only being beaten by an opposition player once (Marcelo's own goal was the other goal Brazil conceded).
The 34-year-old, though, may not have been tested as heavily in the group stages, only needing to make five saves and two good claims from crosses, which he barely added to in 120 minutes of the second round against Chile.
He will be hailed a hero however for his two crucial penalty saves to help Brazil to a thrilling shootout win. Perhaps those kickabouts down at the park paid off after all.