Martins Caseres, the Uruguay international footballer who played for Barcelona and Juventus, has joined English Premier League side Southampton.
The defender’s free transfer will tie him at St Mary’s Y.M.A. Center until June, having left The Old Lady after a successful 2015/2016 campaign in Serie A.
Martins, 29, was confirmed a Southampton player on 16 February, 2017. A statement from the club reads:
Watch our first interview with Martín Cáceres, as he discusses his move to #SaintsFC: https://t.co/H0OCvLzZNK
— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) February 16, 2017.
Martins started his professional football career at Defensor, and was later transferred to Villarreal in 2007.
He will wear shirt number 12 as the club considers him a quality replacement for an injured Virgil van Dijk, who recently suffered an ankle injury.
The South American has 68 caps for Uruguay. He played a big role as part of the squad which featured for the country’s last two World Cup campaigns.
As a free agent, the Champions League winner (Barcelona 2008/09) underwent medicals at Southampton last week.
However, the announcement was delayed due to his brother’s death.
“I am very happy to have signed for what is an important club in English football,” Cáceres told the Southampton club website.
“I am looking forward to getting started with my new team-mates.
“Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club.”
Martins has been active in Uruguay’s international duties since the age of 20, playing in two World Cups, the Copa America (2011) which he won, and the 2013 Confederations Cup.
“In a tough situation for us, losing Virgil to injury, he [Caceres] will bring experience, talent and character,” Les Reed, the Southampton executive director of football, told southamptonfc.com. “He has played in the biggest of games, and will provide depth to our squad.
“Two days of extensive medicals and tough fitness tests have further demonstrated his desire and positive personality.”
Martins becomes the third player to join the club side after a duo of Manolo Gabbiadini and Mouez Hassen were signed in January.