Martín Cáceres has proved to be Antonio Conte's human Swiss knife (apologies to Stephan Lichtsteiner) in the Juventus defence. He now takes his multitasking abilities to the World Cup for Uruguay where Óscar Tabárez has been moving him around just like Conte has. The man nicknamed 'El Pelado' enjoyed another title with Juventus this season.
The defender had originally been a part of the Juventus set-up under Ciro Ferrara in 2009 when he was on loan from Barcelona. However, that season was mostly lost to injuries and he ended up being loaned to Sevilla for the 2010-11 season. Cáceres was transferred to the Spanish club after that, but returned to Juve on loan in January 2012, eventually signing outright at the end of the 2011-12 season.
He usually plays in the right back position, but has been utilized as a left back as well as playing as a center back in Conte's 3-5-2. Cáceres is a bit of a risk-taker, and this makes him a defensive liability at times as well. He is also not hesitant in going feet first into challenges, which has led to injuries and disciplinary issues. As a right-footer playing on the left for Uruguay, there is the potential risk for Tabárez's side that he could be caught out by a strong winger looking to keep the ball on the outside.
Caps: 57, Goals: 1
Service for Uruguay: Cáceres featured 11 times for the Uruguayan Under-20 team, before making his debut for the senior side in 2007. Since then, he has appeared 57 times for La Celeste, with one goal and five assists in that period. He played in the semis and third-place games in the 2010 World Cup and every match of the 2011 Copa America that Uruguay went on to win. He also featured in the 2011 Confederations Cup, where Juve fans will remember Gianluigi Buffon saving his penalty in the shootout for third-place.
What makes him interesting: Despite being only 27, he is considered as one of the team's young leaders alongside Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, who will eventually take over from the old guard of Diego Forlan and Diego Lugano. While Tabárez can switch between the 4-4-2 and the 5-3-2/3-5-2, it's the flat back four that is his preferred formation and Cáceres can play anywhere along that backline.
What to expect in Brazil: Team captain Lugano is prone to getting caught out flat-footed and while Atletico Madrid's excellent center back Diego Godin will be playing a supporting role, it may fall on Cáceres' shoulders to cover. Lugano and Godin are not the quickest on the turn and prefer to not push the backline up too high, which then adds to the workload of the midfielders. Costa Rica are the weakest team in Group D on paper, but are quick and can cause problems. Both England and Italy will also rely on breaking down the Uruguayans in the middle of the park as the 4-4-2 often looks like a 4-2-4 and the midfield is easily overrun. Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard should both find plenty of time and space to distribute the ball against La Celeste.
However, it is in attack where Uruguay are such an irresistible force. If Suarez returns to full fitness and Cavani is in form, along with the last World Cup's best player Forlan, this is one of the most potent strikeforces in the tournament and has the potential to turn games into gunfights that will cause defensive purists to look away in horror.
Look for Cáceres to top off a good season with the Old Lady with a solid performance at the Cup, culminating in knocking out England in the group stages, then beating Group C winners Colombia before ending their journey at the hands of hosts Brazil in the quarterfinals.