In a squad full of local players and containing one of the greatest of all time, it was Edinson Cavani who captured the hearts of most Manchester United fans.
It’s easy to see why – and no, it’s not just her hair (although that doesn’t really hurt).
He is a warrior with the movement and grace of a ballerina. He’s a fighter with a fiery passion that only a Matador could have. And he’s a hero, who arrives to save the day at the right time.
Against Newcastle, Cavani once again saved Manchester United when he unleashed a rebound in the 71st minute.
His celebration was the hallmark, a battle cry of raw emotion that underscored why United fans came to adore him.
At the second request, he stretched to pass the ball past the Newcastle defense and once again save the face of the Red Devils.
He walked away to celebrate, not towards the corner flag but celebrating as he returned to the center circle to restart the game, then try to win.
Once, two, three, four times he jumped up and slammed both fists to the ground like a 6th grade schoolboy who had just scored the winner of the Pupils vs Parents football match.
But there was nothing childish about the roar he let out. Raising his fist in the air, he shouted “VAMOOOOS”, drawing attention to the whole Red Army who in turn responded to his favorite general.
It was a scream that ordered everyone to regroup and go back, desperately trying to grab a winning goal they knew they didn’t deserve.
🗣 Cavani set to start for Man Utd every week pic.twitter.com/jMPioWemqr
– FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) December 27, 2021
He raised his hands in the air, ordering his fellow crusaders to return to their half of the field and start the game over.
But it was also a cry for his beloved infantry, those in Newcastle’s criminal district, who rushed into the pandemonium for their beloved Greek god-haired Spartacus.
It was a celebration that perfectly explained why the Old Trafford devotees turned to Cavani almost instantly.
Not only does he look different on the pitch, not only does he have a unique style, but he is concerned.
Cavani is quite tenacious. Never mind that he doesn’t speak much English because his movement and passion say more than words ever could.
His football message was so powerful that United fans heard it loud and clear through even their screens when they couldn’t be at Old Trafford due to Covid.
They came up with songs for him a few weeks after his debut.
“Give it, give it, give it to Edi Cavani” was followed by “I’m in love, I can’t deny”. The latter is now a staple on United’s matchday, whether or not he’s on the pitch.
The Manchester United fan base came up with another song for Edinson Cavani.
‘I’m in love, I can’t deny
Our number 7 is the king of Uruguay
El Matador, who could it be
His 1st name is Edinson, his 2nd Cavani
Oh oh oh oh oh… ‘
– Follow @UruguayanHeroes (@UruguayHeroes) August 16, 2021
But his legend was also born out of necessity. So many times during his 18 months at the club, he stepped up and coached United on the battlefield.
His brace against Southampton, Fulham, Spurs and Villareal – he has saved and inspired United on several occasions. There would have been even more opportunities too if he hadn’t had to deal with an injury.
But while these performances are a testament to his talent, they also reveal the scale of the problems Manchester United face.
The club once again needed Cavani to save them a point and couldn’t find a way to get past a Newcastle side who are rightly in 19th. There is no excuse for the talent of the players on the pitch now, except for the lack of a true defensive midfielder.
Arguments that the tactics are to blame will also struggle to hold up now that Ralf Rangnick is in it. Instead, it appears to be a purely psychological issue at the club that has plagued him for years and is only pushed back occasionally.
In defense, the players seem extremely nervous. In midfield, no one takes responsibility for the ball, preferring to move it to the side when pressed in order to avoid blame for losing it. On offense, there is a disconnect, with no combination of players appearing to click.
But Cavani’s warrior and roaring spirit is the antithesis of everything that plagues Manchester United.
They must refuse to let him go in January and bottle anything that gives him lost battles.
And just for fun, they should order everyone to grow their hair out like him. At this point, it’s probably worth a try.
By Patrick Ryan
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