At the age of 23 Jose Martin Caceres is starting to fulfil the rich promise he showed in the early part of his career. A highly regarded centre-half who is strong in the air and assured on the ground, Caceres has also displayed plenty of character since emerging from Defensor Sporting’s richly productive youth academy.
It was with La Viola that the versatile Caceres, who can also slot in at full-back and central midfield, made his Uruguayan first division debut in 2006. Already a target for a clutch of European clubs, he shone at the 2007 South American U-20 Championships in Paraguay, his assured performances helping Uruguay to qualify for that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
On his return from Paraguay and with less than 30 games under his belt for Defensor, Caceres was signed by Spanish club Villarreal, who immediately loaned him out to Recreativo Huelva. He settled in well in southern Spain and after appearing in all four of Uruguay’s games at Canada 2007, national coach Oscar Tabarez gave him his full international debut in that September’s 0-0 draw with South Africa in a friendly in Johannesburg.
After then missing out on selection for the first four games of the South Africa 2010 qualifying competition, he then took another step forward in his career, being voted one of La Liga’s most promising newcomers of the 2007/08 season and earning a move to Barcelona. With that he became virtually a permanent fixture in the Uruguay line-up, playing in 12 of their last 16 qualifying matches.
Now enjoying regular first-team football with Juventus, having moved to Turin in the middle of 2009, he has just turned in a fine season in Serie A, gaining valuable experience for the challenges that lie ahead in South Africa.