Wednesday, July 17, 2024

SPORTS | 31-07-2023 18:38

Edison 'El Matador' Cavani arrives at La Bombonera

At 36 years old, the relentless Uruguayan goalscorer Édinson Cavani is hoping to push Boca Juniors forward and delight La Bombonera.

Boca Juniors announced last Saturday the signing of Edison Cavani, the legendary Uruguayan “Matador” on an 18-month contract.

The veteran goalscorer has left Valencia in Spain, where he had been since August 2022, leaving a record of seven goals in 28 official matches.

His arrival at the blue and yellow club, where his friend and top idol of the club Juan Román Riquelme works as a vice-president, takes place at a time when Boca is getting ready to face the round of 16 of the Libertadores Cup versus Nacional de Uruguay, their first duel being scheduled for Wednesday in Montevideo.

Cavani’s arrival at the club in the popular neighbourhood of La Boca seals an old love affair between the Uruguayan and the club, which was born in the historic celebration of a goal by his compatriot Sergio "Manteca" Martínez in the 1990s during a super derby against River Plate at La Bombonera. 

“Manteca’s” euphoric celebrations, when Cavani was only 5 years old, were emblazoned in his brain forever: the Uruguayan took his shirt off during the celebration with Boca supporters. He stepped onto the wiring and started climbing to the top, an image that was immortalised in the memory of Argentine football.

“I want to hang from the wiring of La Bombonera, like Manteca did," said "el Matador.” Now, he can make that a reality when he is officially introduced to supporters on Monday.


A competitive animal 

Quiet, affable and a man of few words, Cavani seems to disbelieve eternal success. When he plays wearing the Uruguayan jersey, like he did in four World Cups and won the Americas Cup in 2011, he seems to be earning his spot as a debutant, instead of a consummated striker in the world elite.

There is evidence to support it. At Palermo (2006-2010), his first club in Europe, he scored 37 goals in 117 matches. He then moved on to Naples (2010-2013) where he caught the attention of football by racking up an impressive 104 goals in 138 matches in three seasons, and becoming the top scorer in Italian football in 2012-2013.

Yet his ascent to Mount Olympis came with Paris Saint-Germain, where he became their top scorer in history with 200 goals in 301 matches until the French star Kylian Mbappé overtook him with 212 goals to date. 

Amazing numbers which did not reflect his cold exit from the French team in 2020, to move on to another European giant, Manchester United, where he did not lose his efficacy, although he played little due to injuries, leaving a record of 19 goals in 59 matches.

The 7 goals scored in 28 matches with Valencia do not say much about Cavani in Spanish football.

Now Boca supporters are really hoping this man obsessed with goals -437 in his career between clubs (379) and the Uruguayan National Team (58)- will lead Boca to their seventh Libertadores title to catch up to Independiente as the top winner of the continental contest.

Maybe after La Bombonera dedicates chants "¡U-ru-guayo, u-ru-guayo!” (Uruguayan) to him, as it did in the past with “Manteca”, Cavani will end his career and go back to his property in Salto, his homeland in northwestern far away from the bright lights and the raucous shouts chanting his name.

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