After three years of playing second fiddle to the formidable Zlatan Ibrahimović, Edinson Cavani is now finally PSG’s vocal point. With that role, there comes a lot of pressure. The kind of pressure that has only got bigger after his poor day in front of goal vs. Metz. It leaves Cavani with a point to prove, a sort of situation where Uruguayans have proven to thrive under, though.
The football world is one of people with short memories. The last performance mostly defines the capability of a player. Well, I am not like that. Just take an objective look at Cavani’s career. His goal scoring record for Napoli was nothing short of sensational, scoring 104 goals in 138 appearances for I Partenopei. He managed to lead the goal scoring charts in 2012/2013 by 29 goals in a league that many believe is the hardest to score goals in. To draw a comparison with his former teammate Ibrahimović; Zlatan’s highest goal tally in a single Serie A season is 28 goals.
When El Matador left the Serie A to play for French giants PSG, he quickly had to acknowledge his position as right winger. A position which is not his and he never played at. It’s no science to understand that playing out of position doesn’t help the self-confidence of a player. Despite all of that, the Uruguayan still managed to score 25-30 goals (all competitions) a year. Apart from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are not many players who can reach that amount of goals playing mainly from a winger position.
However, I am not here to deny the obvious. Cavani’s sharpness in front of goal has not been like it was in his Napoli days. Certainly last summer for Uruguay, Cavani missed some big, big chances resulting in an early Copa América knock-out for La Celeste. This is not consequence of incapability, though. It’s more a result of lack of confidence. For example, look at Luis Suárez in his first months at Barcelona. Suárez was still searching for his place in the team and was clearly lacking confidence resulting in unproductivity in front of goal.
It’s something that has been going on with Cavani ever since his arrival at PSG. Now at his preferred position, the 29-year-old can finally prove his doubters wrong, though, and show what he is really made of. He maybe had a bad first game of the season, but Cavani will bounce back and return stronger. Cause that’s simply how Uruguayans do it.
Written by David Kraakman.