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Willy Caballero

BIOGRAPHY

Goalkeeper Willy Caballero joined Chelsea on 1 July 2017 having been out of contract at Manchester City.

The experienced Argentinian was initially brought to London to add strength to our goalkeeping resources following the departure of Asmir Begovic to Bournemouth. In recent seasons, he has competed with Kepa Arrizabalaga for the number one spot. He had previously spent three seasons at City, having started his career at Boca Juniors in his home country before playing for Spanish clubs Elche and Malaga.

2017/18

Caballero made his Chelsea debut in September in a 5-1 Carabao Cup game at home to Nottingham Forest. He was denied a debut clean sheet by a Forest goal right at the end of the game.

It was a pattern that was followed in subsequent wins in the competition against Premier League Everton and Bournemouth, but Caballero did claim a clean sheet in the FA Cup when we drew 0-0 at Norwich. In the replay, having again conceded right at the end of the 90 minutes, the Argentinean was one of the heroes of a penalty shoot-out win.

He played his first Premier League game for Chelsea in January, making an outstanding save from a Tomer Hemed header in a 4-0 win at Brighton. In the FA Cup semi-final against Southampton, he played an important role in our progress, including one great stop when the score was 1-0. 

2018/19

In his second season in SW6, Caballero appeared nine times behind new first-choice Kepa Arrizabalaga. He notably kept a clean sheet in a crucial home win over Tottenham in February, and he appeared twice in our successful Europa League campaign.

2019/20

Caballero featured in the early rounds of the domestic cup competitions under new boss Frank Lampard, recording a clean sheet against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup third round in January. 

He enjoyed a run of five consecutive starts in February before the football lockdown and then regained his starting spot between the posts after the restart, including for our crucial final-day win over Wolves and the FA Cup final. A new one-year contract extension was signed in May.

Pre-Chelsea

The Argentinian first moved to the Premier League in the summer of 2014, linking up once again with Manuel Pellegrini, whom he had played under at Malaga.

The highlight of his time at City was the 2016 League Cup final when his heroics during the decisive penalty shoot-out against Liverpool ensured City secured the trophy. Caballero saved three penalties - from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana - as his team came out on top at Wembley.

In the 2016/17 season he featured in a memorable 3-1 Champions League win over Barcelona, and made a crucial penalty save from former Chelsea striker Falcao in the first leg of their last-16 knockout tie against Monaco.

Caballero featured regularly towards the end of the campaign, including in City's 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. On that night he saved an Eden Hazard penalty, only for the Belgian to tap home the rebound for what proved to be the winning goal.

In Spain he spent seven years at Elche after leaving Boca Juniors. He became their first-choice goalkeeper for a significant period before making the switch to Malaga in 2011. Malaga, under the guidance of Pellegrini, achieved a sixth-place finish in 2012/13, helped in no small part by Caballero’s form, and at the end of the following campaign he was nominated for the league’s best goalkeeper award alongside Keylor Navas and his future Chelsea team-mate, Thibaut Courtois, who was on loan at Atletico Madrid.

International

At international level, Caballero was part of the Argentina team which won gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, although it wasn't until March 2018 that he made his debut for the national side at the age of 36 in a 2-0 friendly win over Italy.

As well as keeping a clean sheet, the Chelsea 'keeper performed well throughout and made a number of impressive saves. He was subsequently named in the Argentina squad for the 2018 World Cup, starting their opening two matches of the competition.