Cavani’s figures show how he has a completely undeserved reputation

Liam Newman
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Once you’ve been tagged in the fierce world of modern football, escaping public perceptions is virtually impossible. For many, Neymar will always be a diver; Diego Costa will always be overly physical; and Pepe will always be a combination of the two. In the case of Edinson Cavani, it’s a career of being wasteful in front of goal.

PSG’s Uruguayan forward certainly hasn’t helped himself by missing big chances in big games for both club and country. And in a world where most fans digest world football almost exclusively through short social media clips, those lowlights have an even greater influence on public perceptions.

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But is the 29-year-old really as ineffective as we tend to assume? The cold hard statistics suggest not.

Since joining the Parisians from Napoli in 2013, Cavani’s Ligue 1 and Champions League returns make for pretty interesting reading. Excluding blocked shots, his conversion rate per Squawka hovered around the 20% mark in his opening three seasons in French football, which is far from poor.

It’s additionally worth noting that, until this summer, Cavani was very much in the shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Even in his record-breaking season last term, the now-Manchester United striker only converted 24% of his shots, making his former teammate’s tally look even less disastrous.

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With the spotlight shining brighter than ever this season, every Cavani miss is scrutinised to extreme levels. But the fact is that the striker has stepped up to fill the void with fantastic results, scoring 19 goals in 18 games while converting just under one in three chances – those stats are even better than Premier League star Sergio Aguero, who is scoring roughly one in four.

Of course, other factors like the gulf in quality between France and the top leagues in England, Spain and Germany should be taken into account. But as the old football cliché goes, you can only beat what’s in front of you; and a total of 100 goals in 167 appearances to date for PSG is a pretty solid return for a player who has regularly been regarded as someone who couldn’t finish his own dinner.

Given that Cavani has also recently shown himself to be a top bloke too, shall we all start to cut the guy some slack?

 

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Besides, most teams outside of the El Clasico pairing would openly welcome the PSG man into their squads.

 

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