Paraguayan Footballer Oscar Cardozo

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  • Paraguayan Footballer Oscar Cardozo

You might have noticed that the Paraguay have been very impressive in this edition of the FIFA World Cup. Defending has been steady, midfield strong, and attacks incisive. And an essential part of the Paraguay forward force is Oscar Cardozo. Let’s take a look at his career.

 

Club Career

Born on 20 May, 1983 Cardozo started playing football at a club called Club 24 de Junio, and then 3 de Febrero in Paraguay. After scoring prolifically for them, he moved on to Club Nacional in 2005, where he became the top scorer.

 

He moved on to greener pastures in Argentina at Newell’s Old Boys, a club which has had the likes of Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta, Ariel Ortega in the past and more recently Walter Samuel, Maxi Rodriguez, Gabriel Heinze in the second half of the 2006-07 season. They are the club which produced Lionel Messi from their youth system, much to the delight of Barcelona scouts.

 

Cardozo quickly established himself in the team and scored 11 goals in 16 games to win the Paraguayan Footballer of the Year. His consistent performance for the club caught the eye of the Benfica management and they put out a whopping 11 million Euros to secure him, a sum which is the second highest ever for the club (the highest being spent on Simao).

 

Benfica reaped the benefits of Cardozo’s talent and he helped them perform well in both the Portuguese league and the Champions’ League, scoring 22 goals in 29 games.

 

The next season limited his playing time due to injuries and struggling form in the first half of the season, but he bounced back in the second half, scoring 8 goals in the last 10 games. He also won his first title that year and finished second on the top scorers’ list.

 

The next season (2009-10) has been the best of his career. He had a prolific run in the league competition, scoring hat tricks twice and also assisting in some situations. He won the Portuguese league with Benfica and helped them reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League (formerly UEFA Cup).

 

He was the top scorer in the tournament and scored in both the legs of the quarter-finals against Liverpool. He ended the season with 38 goals, 26 of which were in the league, winning him the silver boot for being the second highest goal scorer in the league.

 

International Career

Cardozo’s international career has been a brief one. He made his debut in a friendly against Mexico in 2007, and scored the only goal of the game. He was part of the team which reached the quarters of the 2007 Copa America, and helped Paraguay reach the 2010 World Cup finals.  

 

Strengths

Tacuara (it means big cane, in a Paraguayan language called Guarani), as he is known affectionately by Benfica fans, is tall (192 cms) and makes his presence felt during set pieces. He isn’t very fast, but his shot accuracy is high, and his work rate is what makes him a force to reckon with for all defenders.

 

He is also a free-kick specialist, takes free-kicks for Benfica and has often scored from them. Though he hasn’t scored for Paraguay yet in the World Cup, he definitely has an impact on their game.

 

The 27-year old has expressed his desire to move on to bigger challenges in Europe and Benfica have put him on sale. Manchester City, Everton, Shakhtar Donetsk have reportedly expressed interest in signing him.

 

Paraguay have qualified for the knockout rounds and this striker will definitely want some goals to his name in the grandest tournament of them all.

 

Who knows, with the uncertainty that is characteristic of this World Cup, we could very well be in for a surprise end to the tournament. Paraguay will meet either Denmark or Japan in the round of 16.


Tagged in: Paraguaya, Oscar Cardozo
 

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