Gomes happy to sit out World Cup

JOHANNESBURG - Brazilian goalkeeper Gomes is surely unique among the 736 players attending the World Cup which kicks off on Friday - he would be happy to sit it out.

After standing in for the warm-up friendlies against Zimbabwe and Tanzania, Gomes said he was more than happy to make way again for first choice Julio Cesar, who is seen as certain to return after a minor back injury.

"I hope I'm not needed because Julio deserves to play a World Cup," the Tottenham Hotspur player told reporters.

"Julio is the best keeper in the world, thanks to what he has done and thanks to what he has won," added Gomes, expressing an opinion which is widely shared in the football world.

"There are a lot of good goalkeepers, but not all of them win major competitions."

Julio Cesar, who helped Inter Milan win a Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup treble this season, went off after 25 minutes of the 3-0 win in Zimbabwe last week after falling awkwardly and hurting his back.

He did not travel for the subsequent friendly in Dar-es-Salaam, the first time in two years and 26 games that he has not started a Brazil game.

Julio Cesar's dominance of the position is so great that he played in every minute of Brazil's 18-match World Cup qualifying competition and coach Dunga had not even bothered testing an alternative in the warm-up friendlies until he was injured.


Gomes, who has won six caps, accepted the situation.

"I don't consider myself to be in his shadow and and people who follow me know what I have done for this opportunity," he said. "It's just part of my job, nothing special.

"I'm experienced enough to understand that Julio is number one but, if I'm needed, I'm ready."

Gomes, who won four consecutive Dutch titles with PSV Eindhoven, dismissed suggestions that his presence between the posts had been greeted with mistrust by Brazilian supporters.

"Nobody thought I would play these two friendlies but I was ready to come in at these moments," he said.

He said he had survived a period shortly after he was signed by Tottenham two years ago, where he committed a series of high-profile blunders in his early matches.

"When Tottenham signed me, the media had no confidence, I was the first Brazilian goalkeeper to play in England and they came down on me hard," he said.

"The coach, Juande Ramos, had confidence in my but when he left, the next guy signed another goalkeeper from Chelsea and my performances suffered.

"When you don't have the confidence of the people closest to you, your performance is affected," said Gomes, who has subsequently settled down at Tottenham and helped them qualify for the Champions League this season.

Gomes was Dunga's first choice as goalkeeper after his appointment as coach in 2006 but he fell out of favour after that, until being recalled for last year's Confederations Cup.

"Only myself and Dunga know what happened in that interval. It was a long time without wearing the Brazil shirt," said Gomes.

"I have been preparing all this time and it's be