Julio Cesar and Benfica mutually agree to part ways

Former Brazil international Julio Cesar is looking to sign for a new club after agreeing to end his contract with Benfica by mutual consent.

The ex-Inter Milan goalkeeper made just four starts in all competitions for Benfica this season and his contract had been due to expire next summer.

"It's a risk I'm taking," Cesar told Benfica TV. "As of today, I have nothing, I don't have a club. It was a difficult decision.

"In the event that something comes out, I will study it and if it doesn't, it will be an important moment to consider hanging up the gloves. But I'm not thinking about that right now."

The 38-year-old made 83 appearances in his three-and-a-half years at the Estadio da Luz, winning eight trophies, including three Primeira Liga titles.

"It's my decision," he said. "I always tried to help the team on and off the pitch. I saw that I was no longer helping and I said, rather than hurt [the team], I prefer to stop. I was no longer very motivated to practice.

"It's also a matter of personal vanity for my 20-year career. I would like to end my career playing. Seeing that I was having little space, I chose, amicably to reach an agreement.

"I came and I leave with my head held high. I've won eight titles, which is really good. It's been a beautiful journey and I take away great joy and memories."

Cesar bid an emotional farewell to his teammates in a video posted by the club on Twitter.

"I think the journey for me ends here but you have to keep going," he said. "You can be sure that there will be a guy out there supporting you."

Cesar, who began his playing career at Flamengo, also enjoyed plenty of success in his seven seasons at Inter, winning 14 trophies. Among them were five Serie A titles and the 2010 Champions League.

He then joined Queen Park Rangers in 2012, but after a disappointing spell there, Cesar eventually arrived at Benfica.

He won the 2004 Copa America and the 2009 and 2013 Confederations Cups with Brazil. Cesar made 87 appearances for Brazil and started for them at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Portuguese sports newspapers had Cesar's departure as the main story on Wednesday's front pages.

Cesar's teenage son, Cauet Werner, posted a message on his Instagram account that read: "Your journey with Benfica ends here, it was a pleasure to watch you play. Many titles achieved, you will never stop being an idol."