Monday, 10 July 2023, 14:39
Willy Caballero, who was Malaga CF's goalkeeper during its most successful period, has retired from professional football at the age of 41.
The Argentinian, who was relegated from the Premier League with Southampton last season after an 18-month spell there, will remain in the game: he now joins Leicester City, also relegated, to become assistant manager.
Caballero will work under the recently appointed Enzo Maresca - another former Malaga man (he played for the side during the 2011–2012 season).
Caballero arrived at Malaga in February 2011 as an emergency transfer from Elche after Sergio Asenjo picked up a serious injury. And from the very first moment, thanks to his professionalism and commitment, Caballero earned the respect and appreciation of the Malaga fans.
During this time, Caballero was a key part of a particularly strong Malaga side, the best in the club's history, playing during the side's legendary Champions League campaign until their elimination in the quarter-finals.
Caballero played for Malaga for three and a half seasons, until the club allowed him to join Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City in the summer of 2014 for a fee of 7.5 million euros, plus add-ons.
Caballero's time in England was mostly spent as an experienced back-up, but he did memorably help City to a penalty-shootout victory against Liverpool in the 2016 League Cup final.
With Pep Guardiola as coach, Caballero spent some time as first choice as the coach sought to replace Joe Hart on a permanent basis. However, after the signing of Claudio Bravo, Caballero left City after three years on the expiry of his contract to join title holders Chelsea on a free.
Again, during his four years at the club, he was mostly a back-up, but on occasion did deputise for the under-fire Kepa Arrizabalaga - performances which earned him a call-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he made two appearances.
With the Blues, he added FA Cup (2018), Europa League (2019) and Champions League (2021) medals to his collection, before joining Southampton in December 2021.
He now arrives at Leicester as Maresca's assistant where he will hope to bring all his experience acquired during more than two decades as a professional.
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