All Whites and former A-League defender is set to become the first Kiwi men's footballer to play with an Italian Serie A side.
Serie A side Empoli FC have acquired All Whites defender Liberato Cacace - also known as Libby Cacace - on loan for the remainder of season. The former A-League Wellington Phoenix starlet will become the first New Zealand men's player to feature in Italy's top league.
Liberato Cacace Serie A move
- All Whites defender Liberato Cacace has made a move to Serie A side Empoli.
- The loan deal could become a permanent one come the end of the year.
- The 21-year old made his professional debut for A-League side Wellington Phoenix.
More A-League news can be found on FTBL.
Cacace is currently contracted to Belgian Pro League side Sint-Truiden. He joined the European club from the A-League's Wellington Phoenix in August 2020 for a fee of 1.2 million euros. The defender had first made his professional debut for the Phoenix in 2018 as a teenager.
During his year and a half in Belgium First Division, the 21-year old has made nearly 50 top flight appearances. He was also part of New Zealand's squad at the Tokyo Olympics, making four appearances during the OlyWhites' campaign.
His performances are now good enough to garner the attention of the Italian giants. Empoli FC finished the loan deal with Sint-Truiden on the last day of the January transfer window. The club were reportedly in the market for a new left-back option for coach Aurelio Andreazzoli.
According to Sky Sports Italy, the club have the option to sign Cacace on a permanent basis at the conclusion of the 2021-22 Serie A season. The purchasing ticket for the Tuscan club is reported to be 3 million euros.
The Kiwi spoke to his Belgium fans upon leaving the club, sending the following message on the club's social media:
𝗢𝗙𝗙𝗜𝗖𝗜𝗔𝗟👋 l Liberato Cacace ruilt STVV in voor het Italiaanse Empoli.— STVV (@stvv) January 31, 2022
Libby had nog een laatste boodschap voor jullie 👀
🇮🇹 Buona fortuna Libby!
🔗 Meer info via: https://t.co/tIA7MLW7xM
The Kiwi-born player is off Italian descent, his father Antonio having immigrated to Wellington from Naples where the young Cacare was born and raised.
Empoli FC are currently twelfth in the Serie A, sitting twelve points above relegation. They take on Bologna this Sunday.
Serie A is broadcast on BeIN Sports in Australia.