Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been voted France Football’s best foreign player in Ligue 1 for 2017, ahead of teammates Neymar and Marco Verratti, as well as Monaco’s Radamel Falcao.
Cavani, 30, scored 36 goals and assisted six more from 37 appearances across the second half of the 2016-17 season and the opening part of the 2017-18 campaign.
Speaking recently in Doha, Qatar, while on PSG’s winter tour, Cavani spoke of his desire to see PSG enjoy collective success before he earns any individual recognition.
“It is all very nice but, honestly, for me, collective objectives are the most important thing,” the Uruguay international told journalists at a news conference. “One thing will come after the other and ultimately, if the team is working well, it enables each of us to accomplish things individually.”
Cavani’s future has been a subject of speculation since the arrivals of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar last summer and although they have put their penalty row aside, rumours persist that Les Parisiens‘ No. 9 is living on borrowed time at Parc des Princes.
“Football is a sport where you never know what is going to happen between one match and the next,” Cavani said of the rumours. “I am good with PSG and I believe in the club and I hope that everything will continue to go the way that it is until now.
“I hope to spend many more years in Paris.”
Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic finished his playing career with PSG and coached the side between 2003-05, winning the Coupe de France in 2004.
Speaking with France Football about Cavani for his award, the Bosnian praised the former Napoli and Palermo man and branded him “a modern attacker par excellence.”
“There are still critics of Edinson’s…” Halilhodzic said. “He is a fantastic attacking player. He scores more than 30 goals each year and that is the most important thing. He creates chances each match.
“Edinson is among the three or four best strikers in the game, of course. Fortunately for PSG, he is intelligent and irreproachable. He stays focused on his qualities. He does not think of himself as Lionel Messi or Zinedine Zidane, he just wants to be effective and efficient.”
Jean-Pierre Papin, now a pundit for beIN Sports, also weighed in with his opinion on Cavani.
“When some were burying Edinson under criticism, I defended him,” Papin told France Football. “These pure strikers are endangered and must be defended — Cavani, [Robert] Lewandowski, [Sergio] Aguero, [Mauro] Icardi, [Harry] Kane and [Luis] Suarez.
“Today, there is greater value put on fast attackers, players who can make a show of it and still score — the Neymars, the [Kylian] Mbappes, the Messis and the [Cristiano] Ronaldos. We reproach Edinson because of his lacking finesse but modern football moves so fast that there is little time for finesse, you need to be direct and effective.
“If I were to name a flaw of his, I would say that he could be more successful when one-on-one. Also, his final touch sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. I think that he should defend a little less, even if that is his nature.”
Cavani will regroup with his PSG teammates in early January before tackling three away fixtures in Rennes (Coupe de France), Amiens (Coupe de la Ligue) and Nantes (Ligue 1).
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.