It seems highly likely that 35-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri will sign a short-term deal with Crystal Palace inside the next 48 hours, prompting the press to dig up the glowing quotes Roy Hodgson once gave about him when the two worked together at Liverpool.
Having been signed as the potential Reds number one in 2008, Cavalieri found himself placed firmly behind Pepe Reina in the pecking order. The task of dislodging him was one that he took to with real relish but after sitting on bench for close to three years within the Anfield set-up, he understandably asked Roy Hodgson to consider letting him go, prompting the now Palace boss to speak glowingly to the press about him.
Predictably, Diego was sold to Cesena shortly after Hodgson’s quotes were made but the then 28-year-old’s failure to break into the Liverpool first-team shouldn’t weigh too heavily against him in the minds of Palace fans in the here and now. Unlike outfield players who are routinely rotated from week to week, back-up goalkeepers may wait months and months for an opportunity to prove themselves through absolutely no fault of their own. It may not count for a lot in the minds of the more sceptical supporter but the mere fact that he was brought in by Liverpool back in the noughties points towards his obvious quality in between the sticks.
After leaving Cesena, Cavalieri returned to his native Brazil, joining Fluminese and flourishing as their first-choice keeper for seven years. During that time he was selected as part of the Team of the Year and called up to the Brazilian national squad; yet more honours that simply do not fall into your lap is you are anything below a top quality operator.
Yes, his advancing years are a minor cause for concern but given Roy’s glowing appraisal of him when the two were together on Merseyside, not to mention the success he’s enjoyed before and since, I see no reason why he won’t provide perfectly adequate back-up to Wayne Hennessey until the summer comes. Who knows? He may end up taking the Welshman’s starting role from him before too long.