Former Gremio’s Julio Cesar believes Pepe can have career-best season in second year at Blue and White
Pepe joined Porto in the summer of 2021, but he is still attracting attention in 2020 after the most fruitful season of his career. In Gremio’s final full season, the winger scored 15 goals and provided nine assists, his best personal record to date.
In a statement to O JOGO, goalkeeper Júlio César, who plays alongside the striker wearing the “tricolour” logo, expects the winger to have a successful year – “a very special one. boy” – and believes the foundation has been laid so that he can build new highs. “The second season in Portugal was probably the best of his career, even surpassing the 15 goals he scored in 2020”, the Portuguese representative for Belenses (2007-2009) and Benfica (2009-2013).
Julio Cesar has made no secret of his joy as he sees the Brazilian striker making his way to Porto FC. “I immediately saw that this was a great opportunity for Pepe. He has dreams of playing in Europe and it’s always good to take his first steps in Portugal. I’m happy to see him grow and win titles. He has a lot of potential to grow,” said the 35-year-old goalkeeper who spent two seasons with Pepe at Gremio. Keeping in touch even from afar, and since he knows Portuguese football like the back of his hand, Júlio César doesn’t skimp on tips. “I always try to advise Pepe and I am very happy to see him reach a higher level. I have very good memories with him, living in the Brazilian dressing room and in the game”, he elaborated.
In his first year with a dragon in his chest, it wasn’t until the departure of Luis Diaz that Pepe rose to prominence, finishing the 2021/22 season with 2,125 minutes, 6 goals, 5 assists and 2 championship (Championship and Portuguese Cup) pockets. Overall, Julio Cesar has praised the quality of his former team-mates, admitting he was surprised when he saw Sergio Conceição adapt the winger to a right-back.
“It surprised me, it’s true. But it’s also a testament to his growth and commitment to the team and his desire to improve, even because as a winger he always found it harder to score individually. He The growth of playing at full-back has given Pepe a greater defensive awareness and has rounded out his game. The attacking qualities he possesses give everyone a chance to see. Being able to develop further defensively makes him a very complete player players,” he added.
When evaluating the credit for this evolution, the Guardian hesitated, but left a piece of advice. “Because I don’t live with them every day, it’s hard to tell if it’s for Pepe or for the coach. I know you should set new goals and keep going, focus,” he concluded.