Wednesday evening saw France’s two of France’s top teams, Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco competing for a place in the French Cup Final.
The sideshow to the game was the competing strikers at either end of the pitch, Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao. Throughout their careers, they have been among the best in Europe, with hundreds of goals to their names.
In Ligue 1 this season, they sit in first and third in the scoring charts, with a massive forty shared strikes. In the Champions League, they’ve managed 14 combined.
It’s caused an old debate to be given life once again: who is the better of the South American hitmen? The most obvious place to start is with goals and in this regard, the pair are ridiculously close.
Edinson Cavani’s league season by numbers so far:
52.29% shot accuracy
28.44% conversion rate
El Matador ? https://t.co/TGqw8D4iP4
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) 25 April 2017
In terms of the sheer numbers, it’s Cavani. The Uruguayan has 267 across his career so far while Falcao has managed 224. On a goal-per-game ratio, however, the Colombian is just in front with 0.6-per-game compared to Cavani’s score of 0.59.
He’s also ahead when it comes to minutes-per-goal. So far Falcao averages a strike every 27.7 minutes, Cavani is languishing behind him with a goal every 35 minutes.
In Europe, he’s also slightly behind, with 37 goals in European competitions to his name compared to Falcao’s 39. On the international stage, it’s a different story.
Cavani currently has 38 goals for his country, or a strike every 0.4 games. Falcao has managed 25, one every 0.39 games. Crucially, though, Cavani has played 75 more games than Falcao in his career, which skews these stats somewhat.
There’s even no splitting them when it comes to assists. Cavani currently sits on 46, Falcao is just three behind on 43. Neck and neck so far, how about trophies then?
Cavani has won 16 major trophies to date while Falcao has only managed to pick up 11. The Colombian does, however, have two Europa League titles and a UEFA Super Cup to his name. Cavani is yet to taste success in a European competition.
Nonetheless, in terms of sheer numbers, it’s a clear win for the Paris Saint-Germain striker once again; there is one key ability that sets the two strikers apart, though.
While both are supreme finishers, the Uruguayan has shown adaptability in his game that Falcao is sorely lacking.
For most of his time in Paris, he found himself in a team with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, something that saw him shunted out onto the right wing.
Leading by example! ?
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) 27 April 2017
Despite that, he maintained his goalscoring form. Out of position, he managed to bag over 20 goals in all competitions in every season in spite of the looming shadow of the Swedish legend. It’s hard to imagine Falcao being able to do the same and that is the deciding factor in this debate.
Ultimately both are superb strikers and have been at the top of their game this season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see them linked with the Premier League once again – yes, even after Falcao’s failed two years.
However, Cavani’s adaptability and his bigger trophy cabinet put him ahead of his Ligue 1 rival; the Matador has slain El Tigre.