Thursday July 4 2013
Arrivederci Edinson

With Edinson Cavani likely to leave Italy soon Dave Taylor looks back over his Napoli career and believes Serie A will have lost another big star.

Edinson Cavani ran into yards of space, collected a perfect through ball from Goran Pandev and then kissed it past the Roma ‘keeper with the inside of his left foot. That was four minutes after kick-off, whilst early in the second half, turning on another Pandev pass, his right-footer flashed past Mauro Goicoechea for his second. Twenty minutes later after several more goal-scoring attempts, the Napoli striker rose above the crowd to head home through the goalkeeper’s legs. It still wasn’t over and after narrowly missing with a free-kick, he had the ball in the net for a fourth time only to be ruled narrowly offside. Going clear on goal after that, only a fabulous finger-tip by Goicoechea saved Roma.

That performance in Week 19 of 2012-13 showed Cavani at his predatory best and nothing articulated his many assets more than that triple strike, as part of a 4-1 win. Not that many Napoli fans were surprised, as the omens that were portended in his first game, had been fulfilled many times over by then.

Yet sadly for fans of Italian football and especially those of Napoli, they might never see that sort of action again from the big Uruguayan. Regardless of your club loyalty it cannot be denied that the Matador has brought a touch of class to most proceedings. However, it seems that being successful in Serie A today, means invariably a transfer out of it tomorrow. There used to be a time when great players decided where they wanted to play and not go where teams offered the most money.

But back to reality, arriving in Naples for the 2010-11 season Cavani scored twice as Napoli beat Elfsborg 2-0 in the Europa League on his full debut in September. Anyone who saw him then, knew he would be a winner and somewhat inevitably Serie A would be a loser.

Just to put those omens to bed, three days later he headed home the opener in the 1-1 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A. It was the start of a spectacular campaign that saw him score a magnificent 26 goals in Serie A to help Napoli into third spot and bring them Champions League football.

In Europe the following season he was again worthy of top billing, scoring five goals in eight games, including strikes against Chelsea and Manchester City. Meanwhile in the League his 23 goals saw Napoli end the campaign in fifth spot.

However, in 2012-13 he moved into overdrive and by the start of the ritorno had scored 26 goals in all competitions, which included four cracking strikes against Dnipro, in the Europa League. It was a performance that rated a mind-blowing 10 out of 10 in the Gazzetta dello Sport. He also became a Serie A Centurion, scoring his 100th League goal in the 1-1 draw with Fiorentina in Week 21.

Yet Cavani’s impact has not been just about goals, it is also his attitude, which he demonstrates in defence. “Edinson is amazing, but not only for his goals,” said teammate midfielder Gokhan Inler. “He also helps a lot in defence and makes crucial tackles.” It is an ability to break down attacks from the front and more than pull his weight at the back that has been integral to Napoli’s success.

But it’s goals he is famous for and his 29 this season saw 17 come via his fabulous right foot. These include the howitzer of a free kick against Torino, that even Diego Maradona would have been proud to claim authorship. Another six came from his weaker left foot while the others were headers, as Napoli finished second and grabbed automatic Champions League entrance. “I just want to enter the hearts of the people and the history of the club,” he admitted. He certainly did that and history was his as he lifted the prestigious Scarpa d’Oro award. The last time a Napoli player won the top-scorer prize was when Maradona lifted it in 1987-88 with 15 in 28 games. 

Today Cavani is the club’s third most prolific striker after Maradona and Attila Sallustro and those 104 goals also included nine hat-tricks along with 15 potent penalties. However, above all there is one strike he treasures most. “Fortunately, I’ve scored so many beautiful goals in my career but I think the one in the Cup Final against Juventus was my best,” he revealed. “As it helped the club win a trophy after a long period without success.”

Certainly Cavani brought success to the club and joy to the terraces while also adding a touch of glamour, something not seen since the days of Diego.

And although, should he leave, no-one can ever replace Il Pibe for the pure unadulterated joy he has brought to the San Paolo, the Uruguayan got pretty close with his screams of delight and the shaking of his shirt after another superb strike.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
I think he is one of the 2 or 3 best strikers in the world at the moment and Napoli are crazy to sell him. Money in the bank isn't going to win a first league title in 24 years. Without his goals they'd have been mid-table.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 11:24pm
"Clapping" I have loved watching Edinson. A fitting article to honour such a superb footballer and professional.

His age, work ethic, goal ratio, along with his understanding of how to play the lone striker role, not to mention his selfless displays out of position for Uruguay, make him in my mind the most valuable number 9 on the market.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 10:31pm
Get rid of him. As soon as a player starts umming and arring about his future teams should stop playing them. There is no repect for club and fans, we spend good well earned money to watch our teams and players holding up banners and football tops all for nothing, if player wants to go, go. Players shouldnt be bigger than the team and messing about with meetings and more money its nonsence. Get rid of all these 'big stars' let them chase the money lets use young italians for now and future!!!
on the 4th July, 2013 at 10:04pm
I guess I have a strange opinion about this. As a Napoli fan, frankly I am just tired of all this cavani talk. He clearly doesnt want to stay, so he should just leave already. Mario gomez would be an excellent replacement, or even Ibra, and napoli would have extra money to spend around
on the 4th July, 2013 at 6:46pm
Spot on great article Dave, thanks.

"There used to be a time when great players decided where they wanted to play and not go where teams offered the most money."

Those were the days.
Now it's just business under the sport umbrella. Money was always a factor but has become the deciding one, apart from notable exceptions.
Let's hope Matador will be in the latter, unless growing up he was dreaming about playing for Anzhi or being a part of an "important project" at Man City, PSG, etc.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 6:28pm
As sad it is to see Cavani leave, they MUST spend the 63 mill. on a new 55.000 seater, 150 mill. stadium. With a sponsor, Juventus got 70 mill, stadium cost 120 mill, they can build it and easily earn 25 mill. more per year. In the future they can say no to a new Cavani.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 5:03pm
haven't had huge success.

who last won back-to-backs with real? despite their money. oh yeah: capello.

who is the most winning coach in english nat history? oh yeah...

who won the epl first season? oh yeah...

who built inter for mourinho to put to finishes on? oh, yeah...

who does del bosque always least want to play, and they don't have to play kill-the-guy football like brazil did? oh, yeah...

we'll miss him for a second and there will be a new more exciting player in serie a.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 4:30pm
absolute crap! just like sanchez, cavani will succeed less when he leaves. serie a is finding and developing the most exciting talent and then selling them at a premium. cavani is who he is because of who he plays with and where he plays. the name on his back isn't french or english or spanish. few want to leave serie a. it's more that the teams are selling players at or near their peak, which is brilliant. milan built kaka, real destroyed him. udinese built sanchez, barca wrecked him.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 4:18pm
Edi certainly has a kind of glammer about him. He's a big part of the reason why I've developed a soft spot for Napoli in the last couple of years. He's been nothing short of incendiary since arriving at the club. I, too, will miss him if he goes – it'll be a sad day for Serie A in general.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 4:12pm
I would also like to state that although some of the top players have left Serie A in recent years, I believe it is still in the top 2 European leagues. I watch a lot of the EPL, La Liga and Bundesliga, and apart from the Bundesliga I would say our league has much more to offer. Most of the EPL is kick and rush rubbish and apart from the top 2 inLa Liga most of that league would get beaten by similarly placed teams in Serie A. Serie A may have lost economic power, but we r still a quality league
on the 4th July, 2013 at 3:54pm
He's an outstanding player and will be a huge loss to Serie A, but if Napoli can get 63m euro for him, then it's hard to say no.

This summer or next is their last chance to get big money for him.

If they can sign the likes of Mertens(already in),Damaio, Ferreyra, Nainggolain, Ogbonna, Strootman etc, then it will make Napoli a much better team overall.

Hopefully Benitez doesn't waste the money on garbage like he did with a lot of Liverpool signings.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 3:45pm
Cavani hasn't gone yet!!! And in fact I believe he won't leave Naples. ADL has stated many a time that he will not be going anywhere for less than his 63 million euro release clause and I don't see anyone paying that. Only 5 clubs could realistically pay that and they are, Anzhi, Man City, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid and IMHO I don't see him in any of those teams.
on the 4th July, 2013 at 3:42pm
I'll miss him when he goes, because I remember when he first came from palermo as a small kid with braces but now he's a world class predator. I was hoping he could stay but I think he's made it clear he needs new surroundings but I hope we can find a vice cavani, like damiao with the money we recieve. De La will know how to strenghen the team with Bigon after Cavani leaves, so its not all worries
on the 4th July, 2013 at 3:00pm

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