If any player deserves to go out on a high note at a FIFA World Cup™ finals, then it is Carlos Alberto Pavon. The legendary Honduran front man has scored some of the most important goals in his country’s history without ever getting the opportunity to showcase his skills at the world finals. Until now that is.
It was Pavon’s goal against El Salvador last October that catapulted Los Catrachos to South Africa 2010, bringing him immediate redemption after the tearful and seemingly terminal home defeat to USA only four days earlier. In that game Pavon missed a penalty and should have scored with two point-blank headers, uncharacteristic errors that he would make amends for with the goal that finally took Reinaldo Rueda’s side over the line.
Now 36, Pavon has waited a long time for his place in the sun. After starting out as an 18-year-old with Real Espana in the Honduran league, his physical and goalscoring prowess would soon earn him a transfer to Toluca in Mexico.
Then began an odyssey taking in planet football’s far-flung outposts, a journey in which he has worn the jersey of no fewer than 16 different clubs. Aside from running out for several Mexican sides, he has also played for Valladolid in Spain, Udinese and Napoli in Italy, Deportivo Cali in Colombia, Comunicaciones in Guatemala and MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy. And after his travelling was done he went back to where it all began, Real Espana.
In that time the globetrotting striker was also having his ups and downs with the national side. Over the course of his 16 years as a Honduran international, he has scored 55 goals and yet has only won two trophies, the UNCAF Nations Cup in 1993 and 1995.
Now in the twilight of his career, the man they call La Sombra(The Shadow) is readying himself for the biggest tournament of them all. Few would argue that he does not deserve it. Beating off stiff competition from younger European-based players such as David Suazo and Carlos Costly, Pavon was a permanent starter throughout the qualification campaign for South Africa 2010, which he finished as his side’s leading scorer with seven goals.
In recognition of the evergreen goalgetter’s sterling contribution and his enduring talents as a finisher of the highest order, the Honduran press voted him the country’s Player of the Year in 2009.
With his appetite undiminished by the passing of the years, Pavon is hungry for yet more goals when the world finals get underway. And given his work rate, strength in the air and dedication to his art, it would be unwise to bet against him doing just that come June.