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Edinson Cavani emerges from the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Tuesday 24th January 2017
A few months ago he was being played out of position just to accommodate one man, the mercurial Zlatan Ibrahimović, but today he has emerged the sharpest point in the Paris Saint-Germain free-scoring attack – step forward Edinson Roberto Cavani.
Edinson Cavani is one striker who has always come under plenty of criticism for being a forward who spurns plenty of chances; generally, the average football fan's perception of the 29-year-old is one of a guy who constantly misses sitters – some say he's a man who couldn't finish off his own dinner. Is Edinson Cavani really that bad a striker?

Cavani was quite prolific during his time at Napoli, scoring a total of 78 goals across three seasons. In 2012, Cavani scored 29 goals to become Serie A top scorer, a year later, he completed a big-money move to Paris Saint-Germain. At PSG, he met stiff competition for that number 9 spot from one man – Zlatan Ibrahimović.

Then PSG manager, Laurent Blanc, chose to deploy Cavani either as a winger or just as supporting striker so as to accommodate the big Swede. The effect of this was that Cavani's goal return was nothing compared to what he posted during his time in Italy. In his first season with PSG, he could only manage a paltry 16 Ligue 1 goals in 30 games, 2 goals better than that the following season and could only manage 19 Ligue 1 goals in 32 games last season.

It was obvious that the Uruguayan was not doing too well playing second fiddle to Ibrahimović – but for the titles he won, life was gradually becoming frustrating. Cavani told Italian newspaper, Corriere Dello Sport:

"In football, sometimes things happen that are outside of your control, leading the club to make decisions.

“Last year I did not play further forward, as I love to do. Instead, I played more on the outside.”

That is why I was considering the idea of returning to Serie A. But in the end, I decided to stay at PSG.”

However, Cavani was offered a new lease of life when Zlatan Ibrahimović decided to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract – it meant that Cavani had the opportunity to play in the number 9 position, the lead striker spot he had always craved. Unai Emery gave the 29-year-old that opportunity (rather than sign another striker), and he surely delivered and is still delivering the goods.

In just 19 Ligue 1 games for PSG, Cavani has scored 20 goals – the first striker in Europe's top five leagues to reach that figure. In total, Cavani has scored 26 goals in 26 games for the French giants; that is a goal ratio of 1 goal per game, or better still, 74 minutes per goal according to Squawka.


Edinson Cavani is topping the goal-scorers chart in Europe, the Uruguayan clearly looks reborn, and the cloud of Zlatan Ibrahimović is nothing but a distant memory. I don't see Cavani leaving PSG anytime soon – no one leaves a swimming pool to go swim in a pond.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.

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