Ħamrun Spartans have announced the signing of Italian goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.
The Times of Malta on Monday had reported that the former Lazio custodian had been in advanced talks to join the Malta champions and was due to travel to the islands on Monday night to finalise a deal.
Marchetti and his representatives held talks with the Spartans’ top hierarchy on Tuesday morning and a deal was agreed between all parties.
The capture of Marchetti is certainly another statement of intent from the Spartans to approach their upcoming UEFA Champions League qualifier against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa with the strongest possible squad, particularly following the injury of Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Bonello suffered a hand fracture during Malta’s Euro 2024 qualifying defeat to Ukraine in Trnava. He underwent surgery late last month, but it is highly unlikely that he will recover full fitness ahead of next week’s Champions League first-leg clash against Maccabi Haifa.
The Times of Malta was told on Monday that Marchetti was one of the options being considered by the Spartans to add more experience to their goalkeeper department.
In fact, they also held preliminary talks with former Mosta goalkeeper Christoffer Maffoumbi.
However, Marchetti was always the prime favourite to be handed a deal by the Spartans, particularly due to his close relationship with coach Luciano Zauri.
In fact, Marchetti and Zauri were team-mates at Serie A club Lazio and have since maintained a good relationship.
Added to that the former Lazio goalkeeper brings with him years of experience playing in the Italian Serie A and for the Italian national team.
In fact, the 40-year-old has played for several Serie clubs, that included also Genoa, Torino and Spezia.
Marchetti is expected to defend the Spartans’ goal in next week’s Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa, in what promises to be a very tough tie for the Malta champions.
The Israeli side enjoy a formidable record in the Champions League as last season they reached the group stages where they were drawn to face Paris Saint Germain, Juventus and Benfica.
Maccabi managed to secure a memorable win in the group stages when they upstaged Italian giants Juventus in Haifa.
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