One of the most prolific strikers in European and international football during the 21st century, Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani has a rich goalscoring pedigree.
Raised in Salto, in the north-west of his home country, Cavani’s top-level career began in earnest after a promising showing at the 2007 South American Under-20 Championship, where he scored seven goals as Uruguay finished third, behind Brazil and Argentina.
That drew the interest of several European clubs, and it was Italian side Palermo that first acquired Cavani’s signature. He developed well during three seasons with the Sicilians, and earned a switch to Napoli in the summer of 2010.
It was in Campania, at the Stadio San Paolo, where Cavani truly emerged as one of the game’s most fearsome strikers.
El Matador pillaged 104 goals in 138 matches for Gli Azzurri, including the opener (a penalty) in their 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Juventus in the final of the 2011/12 Coppa Italia. English football fans may also remember his double in a 2-1 Champions League victory over Manchester City that season, and another strike in a 3-1 success over Chelsea in the first leg of the last 16. After much speculation over his future, Edinson eventually moved to Paris Saint-Germain, in what was, at the time, the sixth largest transfer in football history (€64m).
It’s fair to say that the switch was a success. Cavani left the Parisians as the club’s all-time top goalscorer, with 200 strikes in 301 appearances. In terms of silverware, the Uruguayan claimed a gargantuan haul: six Ligue 1 titles, four Coupe de Frances, five Coupe de la Ligues, and four Trophees des Champions.
At international level, Cavani’s success has been similarly spectacular. He made his Uruguay debut in 2008, scoring against Colombia, and fired his 50th goal for La Celeste in a 2-2 draw with Argentina at Bloomfield Stadium, Tel-Aviv last November. The strike made him just the second of his countrymen (behind Luis Suarez, another Salto native) to reach that milestone. He helped Uruguay to finish fourth at the 2010 World Cup, has scored in three consecutive World Cup finals, and was also part of the team that won a record-breaking 15th Copa America in 2011.
Cavani left Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in the summer of 2020, and on Monday 5 October, Manchester United announced the club had reached an agreement with the player to join on a one-year-deal with the option to extend for a further year. The striker is the third Uruguayan to represent the club, following in the footsteps of Diego Forlan and Guillermo Varela.
He agreed a one-year extension to his contract in May 2021 after earning the adulation and respect of everybody associated with the club.