Cavani in Distress
It has been more than a month that El Matador has not scored a goal for the Parisian side. His execution against Naples on Wednesday night (October 26th, 2018) in the Champions League (2–2) was hard to watch. He was substituted at the 76th minute of the game. Something unusual.
Even though he is considered as one of the best strikers of all time, Cavani has not always had an easy ride. After three successful years at Napoli, Cavani was transferred to PSG in 2013 for 64 million euros. He was no longer the star and was pushed to play on the left wing, with Ibra playing through the middle. That affected his performance.
But Cavani is a hard worker who does not complain. You will never see another world class striker making such efforts for his teammates. The main difference between him and other strikers is his defensive capabilities. He’ll be counter-attacking one minute and saving the defense the next. With a positive mindset and incredible willpower, it was just a matter of time until he reaches his top form.
With Ibrahimovic gone in the summer of 2016, Cavani started to shine again. He became PSG’s all-time top scorer on 27 January 2018 with a goal in a 4–0 home win over Montpellier. He surpassed Zlatan Ibrahimović’s record with his 157th goal in his 229th match, becoming the all-time leading marksman for PSG.
Cavani's goal record for PSG:
║ Year ║ Ligue 1 ║ Champions League ║ ║
║ 17/18 ║ 28 goals ║ 7 goals ║ ║
║ 16/17 ║ 35 goals ║ 8 goals ║ ║
║ 15/16 ║ 19 goals ║ 2 goals ║ ║
║ 14/15 ║ 18 goals ║ 6 goals ║ ║
║ 13/14 ║ 16 goals ║ 4 goals ║ ║
This year is a different story. With a new coach bringing a new system and a healthy Neymar playing in midfield, Cavani is back to his dark years when he was doubting himself. Could it be that his injury during the world cup has affected his game or is it that Cavani is not “Neymar compatible”?
Neymar’s tendency to keep the ball and his complicity with Mbappe have isolated Cavani. Their connection is almost nonexistent. When the Brazilian accelerates he has a hard time finding his partner, preferring to play one touch with Di Maria or opting for Mbappe’s speed. Can El Matador be associated with Mbappe and Neymar in PSG’s attack? Will Tuchel find the solution to play with PSG’s all-time scorer? Or are the owners already thinking of Cavani’s sale price?
A lot of unanswered questions but next week’s game at Naples could be PSG’s last one in this year’s Champions League. This is the time when PSG needs Cavani the most. He has scored more than 30 goals at the Stadio San Paolo when playing for Napoli. Let’s hope that he scores one for PSG on Tuesday.