Why Martin Caceres Was Juventus' Most Surprising Player in 2015/16
Sunday May 29 2016
Since returning to Juventus in January 2012, Martin Caceres has been a reliable, consistent and vital member of the squad, proving himself to be a quality reserve capable of filling in wherever needed in defence.
Whether playing on either flank as a wing-back or orthodox full-back but usually as part of the three-man back line that has become something of a trademark for the Bianconeri, the Uruguay international provided the side with a dependable reserve should any of the regular defence need to sit out.
Indeed, Caceres—who also spent the 2009/10 campaign with the Turin giants—had shown that the club had made the right decision to make his loan move permanent in the summer of 2012 at a cost of €8 million, per Goal.com.
Having made 14 appearances and scored three goals, Caceres helped the Old Lady remain undefeated in that previous season to clinch the Serie A title. Over the following three campaigns, he would play 80 more games, no mean feat given the likes of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini were ahead of him.
Often pressing to replace one of that trio thanks to his pace and determination, three more titles followed while he also claimed winners' medals in three Italian Super Cups and one in the Coppa Italia.
Indeed, when this season’s Supercoppa took place at the Shanghai Stadium in China, Chiellini was unavailable and Caceres played 90 minutes, helping the Bianconeri claim a superb 2-0 victory over Lazio.
He would also be handed starts in two of the club’s first three Serie A fixtures but would then self-destruct in spectacular fashion. Just when Juventus needed him most, Caceres crashed his car into a bus stop just outside Turin, with the ANSA news agency and La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t ESPN FC) reporting that he had been found to be over the drink-driving limit.
That led to Juventus announcing via their official website that the 29-year-old would be given a one-match suspension for what they described as a "gross violation of his responsibilities as a Juventus player, as well as damaging the image of the club."
A string of niggling fitness issues meant it was actually a clash with Hellas Verona on January 6 when he returned to action, making just four more appearances before a major injury effectively ended his season.
Leaving the field against Genoa on February 3, the club later issued a statement on their official website revealing that Caceres had undergone surgery on his right Achilles tendon after tearing it during that match, adding that they expected him to be out of action for around five months.
Sadly for Caceres, it seems that will be the end of his time with the Bianconeri, with his current contract set to expire this summer and Juve’s director general telling Radio Kiss Kiss that he would not be offered a renewal.
"I don’t know if Caceres will go to Napoli," Beppe Marotta said in an interview last month (h/t Football Italia). "He’s out of contract and at this moment he’s free to find an agreement with whoever he wants to."
As the WhoScored.com statistics in the table above highlight, that is a wholly understandable decision, with the emergence of Daniele Rugani giving Juventus a much brighter prospect for the future as the former Barcelona man’s impact falls away.
It is a sad end to Caceres’ tenure with the Italian champions, going from valuable reserve to unwanted commodity over the course of 2015/16, something few would have predicted 12 months ago and making him the biggest surprise of the season.