Written by Kavin Tamizhmani in 2013
Edited by Deemer Class in 2015
Forward, #21, 28 Years Old
Winners of both the 1930 and 1950 FIFA World Cup, Uruguay has a rich soccer history. After a magnificent display at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Uruguay, “La Celeste” (The Sky Blue One) hoped to continue their winning ways . With one of the most feared strike forces, Uruguay attacked opposing defenses with Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez, and Edinson Cavani. Although Forlan is well known for winning the Golden Ball as the best player of the 2010 World Cup, Suarez has been one of the most productive scorers in the English Premier League for his club, Liverpool. While Cavani has been overlooked in the past, he had emerged as an immense talent as a goal scoring threat. In fact, in 2012 Cavani was listed as the 10th best player in the world in a listing of the top 100 soccer players . With an aging Forlan, Cavani was expected to perform excellently alongside Suarez to secure Uruguay’s place in the knockout stages of the tournament.
Born in Salto, Uruguay, the second largest city in the country, Edinson Roberto Cavani Gómez had a passion for the game from a young age . Cavani’s father, Luis, played football as did his older brother Walter, who played professionally in Uruguay . As a child, Cavani used to play in the streets in the streets of Salto idolizing prolific Fiorentina and Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta. Ultimately, he joined Montevideo youth academy outfit Danubio FC at the age of 12 on his first youth contract . In his first season at Danubio, Cavani scored 9 goals in 25 matches leading the club to glory in the Primera Division Apertura. Because of his success, Cavani was called up to the Uruguay under-20 squad for the 2007 South American Youth Championship held in Paraguay. Scoring 7 goals in 9 games, Cavani impressed the likes of European club giants Juventus and AC Milan .
In January of 2007, Serie A’s Sicilian outfit Palermo secured Cavani’s services as they announced his signing for 4.75 million pounds. Cavani made his Serie A debut for Palermo in a draw at home against Fiorentina, scoring a brilliant equalizer as a substitute within 15 minutes. As Cavani developed into a regular starter, he made his debut for Uruguay in February of 2008 against Columbia, scoring his first international goal in a 2-2 draw .
After Palermo sold star Brazilian striker Amauri to Juventus, Cavani formed a formidable strike partnership with Fabrizio Miccoli and scored 14 goals in the 2008/2009 season. Cavani’s efforts nearly secured Palermo’s place in Europe for the UEFA Champions League. In 114 appearances, Cavani scored 35 goals for Palermo. Although he signed a contract to remain with Palermo until 2014, he joined Napoli for €17 million . During his first year at Napoli, Cavani scored 26 goals in Serie A, allowing Napoli to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. That year, Cavani almost became Napoli’s second top goal scorer in Serie A since the virtuoso performances of the legendary Diego Maradona. The following season, Napoli won the Coppa Italia, the Italian Cup, with Cavani as the top scorer of the tournament with 5 goals. During his last season with Napoli, Cavani scored 29 goals to become the top scorer in Serie A . Overall, in his time at Napoli from 2010-2013, Cavani scored 104 goals in 138 total appearances in for the club .
Following spectacular performances for Napoli, Napoli’s beloved “El Matador” attracted the likes of European giants Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain. Ultimately, Cavani joined French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a French record fee of €64 million on July 16, 2013. He claimed that PSG’s immense financial backing coupled with the opportunity to play with Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic and former Napoli striker Ezequiel Lavezzi of Argentina were to enticing to pass up . Cavani continued his great career scoring 25 goals in 43 matches in the 2013-2014 season, as well as 17 goals in 36 matches so far in the 2014-2015 season .
At the international level, due to his prolific strike rate in Serie A, Cavani joined the Uruguay national team squad in February 6, 2008 scoring against Colombia in a 2-2 tie at the Estadio Centenario. He was also a part of the impressive 2010 World Cup Uruguay squad that made the semi-finals of the tournament. In the semi-final match against Germany, Cavani scored to tie the match, but Germany ultimately prevailed 3-2. In 2011, Cavani was an integral part of the Uruguay squad that won its record 15th Copa América championship .
As Cavani continued to be in devastating form for Uruguay in 2014 World Cup qualifiers, Uruguay qualified after a play-off for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, making this their 12th appearance at a World Cup finals . As Uruguay marched into Brazil, the fans had high hopes for Cavani. His physical prowess and determination to lead “La Celeste’s” frontline was under close examination in South America. Led once by coach Oscar Tabarez and their triumvirate strike force, Uruguay proved to be a difficult out, but they fell short of expectations.
World Cup 2014 Results:
Uruguay finished 2-0-1 in group play, advancing to the round of 16 where they lost 0-2 to Columbia. Cavani finished the tournament with 1 goal and 1 assist, and an effort considered to have fallen short of his potential. His lone goal came in a 1-3 loss vs. Costa Rica (shown below).
With a lot of attention surrounding the Suarez suspension for his biting incident, which Uruguayan fans felt was an unjust decision, Cavani was unable to step up and fill the role as the go to player to propel Uruguay past Columbia .
How to cite this article: “Uruguay: Edinson Cavani,” Written by Kavin Tamizhmani (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp (accessed on (date)).
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