If Manchester United star Edinson Cavani became one of the most prolific goalscorers in the past decade, perhaps that’s because of a lesson he had in South America many years ago.
That’s a story told by former Colombian striker Hamilton Ricard, who in an interview this week, claimed he taught the Red Devils striker how to finish properly.
They played together at Uruguayan side Danubio between 2006 and 2007, when Cavani was still taking his first steps in the senior team. That’s when he needed some tips from the most experienced players.
“Cavani debuted at the age of 19 and his virtue is that he was very fast and powerful, but his issue was that he wanted to finish in speed,” Ricard told La Tele Letal (via Pulzo).
“I began to explain to him, I told him: ‘When you take a metre ahead of the defender, stop so that the goalkeeper is not so close… And aim at the posts, up and down.”
“In South America, we were seeing him in a game against Colombia in which David Ospina was the goalkeeper. There, Cavani went right, faked, stopped and put the ball through the near post. Then he came back and faked and put it back in.
“My friend used to say to me: ‘What did you teach him for? You idiot, you should have taught him after he came back.'”
Ricard recalls the reaction from that time: “Oops, I created a monster!”
Cavani left Danubio in a €5m move to Palermo in 2007, when he was still 20 years old. He later moved to Napoli, where his success attracted the interest from PSG, who bought him for €64.5m in 2013.
The striker became the French side’s top scorer of all time, with 200 goals in his seven years at the club. He left them at the end of his contract last summer, having joined Manchester United, where he has 15 goals in 36 appearances so far.
With all the success achieved by Cavani so far, Hamilton Ricard must be proud.