Composed, opportunistic and a lethal finisher, Edinson Cavani has shown since joining Napoli that he has all the attributes of a born goalscorer. His imposing physique makes him a dangerous aerial threat, while his skill and reading of the game allows him to play anywhere in attack and even in midfield, as he has done more than once for Uruguay.
El Matador, as Cavani is known, made his professional debut at 19 for Danubio. In total he scored 12 times for the club, and won the Uruguayan league title with them in 2006/07. In early 2007 he represented the Uruguay U-20s at the South American Youth Championship, where he scored seven goals to help his side qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada.
Cavani had little time to celebrate that success, and on his 20th birthday he flew to Italy to join Palermo. It took him some time to settle, however, as he managed just two goals for his new club in the second half of the season, and found the net only once at Canada 2007.
Oscar Tabarez gave Cavani his full international debut in a friendly against Colombia in early 2008, and the striker duly marked the occasion with a goal. Cavani then featured throughout Uruguay's qualifying campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, but failed to score in any of his seven appearances. His contribution, nonetheless, earned him a starting role in six of Uruguay's seven games at South Africa 2010, and he scored his only goal of the tournament in La Celeste's defeat in the match for third place.
Cavani scored 15 times in his final two seasons with Palermo, but it was not until he joined Napoli that the goals really started flowing. As well as becoming a fans' idol by breaking the 30-goal mark (in all competitions) in each of his three seasons to date, he is now also Napoli's all-time leading scorer in European football.
Since winning the 2011 Copa America, and more recently representing Uruguay at the Men's Olympic Football Tournament London 2012 as one of their three over-age players, Cavani has continued to play a pivotal role for Tabarez. Indeed, he is one of only three players to have appeared in every one of La Celeste's Brazil 2014 qualifiers so far.