Following the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic last summer, Paris Saint-Germain needed Edinson Cavani to step up and fill the huge void left by the prolific Swedish superstar.
This was Cavani’s opportunity to finally emerge from Zlatan’s shadow, three seasons after joining PSG from Napoli.
Although the Uruguayan forward had still managed to score goals regularly alongside Ibrahimovic - 81 goals in 148 appearances is far from a poor return - he rarely played in his favoured centre-forward position. He was almost always deployed out wide in order to free up room for his mercurial teammate.
PSG’s new coach Unai Emery, who replaced Laurent Blanc last summer, knew precisely what Cavani was capable of and opted against signing a replacement for Zlatan.
And the South American striker hasn’t let down his manager this season. In 36 matches, Cavani has netted a remarkable 37 goals.
Cavani is scoring goals for fun
The 30-year-old scored the winning goal in PSG’s 1-0 win over Nancy on Saturday afternoon and, in the process, became the first player to score 27 goals in 28 matchdays in a Ligue 1 season since Salif Keita (27) & Josip Skoblar (28) in 1970/71.
But Cavani is acutely aware that he needs to do more than score goals in order to retain his place in Emery’s starting line-up.
It’s imperative that every player works hard for the team - hence why Hatem Ben Arfa has been used sporadically by the Spanish coach this season - and if one clip sums up Cavani’s incredible work ethic, it’s this brilliant piece of footage from the Nancy match.
Cavani's remarkable tracking back v Nancy
Nancy clear a PSG corner and launch a rapid counter-attack.
They soon find themselves in a 3-v-2 situation and have an excellent chance to score.
When the Nancy forward picks up the ball, Cavani is roughly 30 yards behind. But he somehow catches up and manages to make a slide tackle inside his own penalty area.
Who knew Cavani was this quick?
Nancy end up hitting the post but, who knows, without Cavani’s intervention they might well have scored.
Watch: Cavani shows off incredible pace v Nancy
He's made a mockery of his FIFA 17 pace rating
One thing’s for sure: Cavani makes an absolute mockery of his FIFA 17 pace rating in this move.
The forward has a modest pace rating of 76 in the latest version of EA Sports’ hugely successful video game franchise - but this video proves that’s totally wide of the mark.
Cavani gets from one end of the pitch to the other in around 10 seconds. Someone on Twitter claims the exact time is 9.87 seconds - a time even Usain Bolt wouldn’t have been too disappointed with.
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