Published on July 29th, 2017 | by David Kraakman0
Martín Cáceres faces make or break season in return to Italy
Sidelined by an injury that has kept the defender out of the picture for over a year, Martín Cáceres, is looking for a career reboot at Hellas Verona
After an absence of 13 months, Martín Cáceres is set to return to Italy and Serie A.
The Uruguayan defender had his medical at Hellas Verona on Friday and signed a six month loan deal with the club. The move is being conducted in synergy with Lazio, who will decide in the next transfer window whether to leave him at Hellas or strengthen their own team with his presence.
DONE DEAL: Martín Cáceres has been signed by Lazio Roma but will spend the first six months of the season on loan at Hellas Verona. pic.twitter.com/cnOLrPMy8K
— Warriors of Uruguay (@UruguayanHeroes) July 28, 2017
There is a lot at stake for Cáceres as his career has been nothing short of disastrous over the last 18 months. The quick and versatile player, who can play in any position in the backline, made a name for himself in Europe after leaving Defensor Sporting – his boyhood club in Uruguay – in 2007. His journey took him to Villarreal, Recreativo de Huelva, Barcelona and Sevilla before becoming a big player for both Uruguay and Juventus between 2011 and 2015.
However, an achilles injury at the start of 2016 signaled the start of a bad period for Cáceres.
The setback sidelined the stopper for the rest of the 2015/16 season and led Juventus’ director of football Giuseppe Marotta to not to renew his contract – which expired on the 30th of June 2016.
What followed then were seven months of no football for the former Defensor Sporting player as a contract couldn’t be agreed with a single club. Most teams couldn’t afford the wages Cáceres became accustomed to while playing for European heavyweights, Barcelona and Juventus.
In February 2017, Cáceres finally got himself a new side. It was English side Southampton that took the gamble on him and signed up the free agent. Thankfully for them, it wasn’t a gamble with a lot of money involved as Cáceres flopped, playing just one game before being released after the Premier League campaign.
Do or die season for Martín Cáceres
In Serie A, Cáceres needs to get back to playing regularly because only then can he be considered for the Uruguayan national team. He has featured a remarkable 70 times for La Celeste but only twice over the last 18 months.
Uruguay is still not guaranteed of 2018 World Cup qualification, with a fit and in-form Cáceres in the backline, qualifying for Russia will become a bit easier. The 30-year-old offers versatility, pace and power to a side desperately in need of such qualities.
To get back in the picture for Uruguay, it’s also key for Cáceres’ club career to be playing week-in-week-out again. First at Hellas and then possibly at Lazio, both great clubs and could help Cáceres reach his potential again.