Edinson Cavani.

Which legendary striker did Cavani model his game on?

Edinson Cavani has admitted he looked up to Gabriel Batistuta and modelled elements of his game on his fellow South American centre-forward.

Anybody who saw 'Batigol' in his prime will confirm there are more similarities to their style than their long hair with our Uruguayan no.7 further endearing himself to the United support with an excellent display and the opening goal in the vital win at Fulham in midweek.

It has been a privilege witnessing Cavani plying his trade in the red shirt since his move as a free agent last summer and the way he spoke in an exclusive interview for United Review, it is obvious he is a man who studies the game in depth.

Video
Gabriel Batistuta.
Watch Gabriel Batistuta unleash a rocket past United in 2000 - one of the great goals against us at Old Trafford.

Batistuta was certainly a worthy role model for the young Edi, and many Old Trafford regulars reckon his thunderbolt strike for Fiorentina in the 1999/2000 Champions League, which flew past Mark Bosnich, is one of the best there by a visiting player.

Now 51, he impressed with Newell's Old Boys, River Plate and Boca Juniors before heading to Europe in 1991. A remarkable nine-year stay with Fiorentina ensured he became idolised by the club's fans and he followed it up with spells at fellow Serie A clubs Roma and Internazionale. A phenomenal scorer with the Argentina national team, he ended his career with a flurry of goals at Al-Arabi.

Cavani admits Batigol was a reference point for him in his youth but feels the role of centre-forward has changed since the time the Argentinian was wreaking havoc in Serie A.

“That’s why I was mentioning in an earlier section that football has changed in recent times,“ he told United Review, the official matchday programme. ”I feel personally, that in the years since I’ve been playing in Europe, I’ve spotted that kind of transition.

“When you compare what the game was like when I first arrived, and I had the chance to play alongside many different players, and in Italy too, and then now look at football today which is much more modern.

Gabriel Batistuta.
Gabriel Batistuta has words with United right-back Gary Neville.

“But yes, Batistuta was the striker who basically brought together all the attributes and everything that I liked in a player, from my point of view of how I was as a player and how I lived and appreciated the game of football, and my style of play too.

“And yes, you tried to learn and pick up some of those attributes. If you look at him, one of the things that Batistuta had was that intuition, that ability to anticipate, to move and make a run to get rid of his marker, so he could get in on goal and get his header away.

“I think there are similarities in some of my goals with many goals that he scored. But it's true that he was the striker that I really liked and admired, because he had the ability to decide a game with his great fighting spirit, huge desire and great strength.”

The full interview with Edinson Cavani appeared in United Review, the official matchday programme for the Liverpool game.

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