PARIS — Two months ago, Edinson Cavani was just the outcast
at Paris Saint-Germain.
Absent for the club's midseason training camp in Morocco
following a string of poor performances, the Uruguayan was fined by the club
and banned from the team for three games.
Cavani's future in the French capital looked bleak. PSG
coach Laurent Blanc slammed his decision to return late from holidays, saying
there would be no complacency for a player with a huge price tag of 64 million
euros ($77 million) having proved mainly ineffective since the start of the
season, with just seven league goals in 18 matches.
Frustrated by his tense relationship with Blanc and his
position on the field, forced to play a supporting role behind Zlatan
Ibrahimovic most of the time, Cavani felt downhearted.
Twelve matches later, he is leading PSG's quest for a
historic quadruple as the team remains in contention in the two domestic cups
and in the Champions League. In the league, PSG trails leader Lyon by only one
point ahead of Saturday's home match against Lens.
In third place, three points further back, Marseille travels
to Caen while Lyon is at Montpellier.
Cavani, a former Napoli striker, earned PSG a 1-1 draw with
Chelsea when he scored the equalizer in the first leg of the last 16 in the
Champions League. On Wednesday, he slotted home his 18th goal of the season in
all competitions to seal PSG's progression to the semifinals of the French Cup
in a 2-0 win over Monaco, when the absence of the suspended Ibrahimovic was
After opening the door for his exit with the poor management
of January's crisis, PSG might now find itself struggling to convince him to
stay, with several big clubs, including Arsenal, reportedly interested in
L'Equipe newspaper reported this week that Cavani held talks
with Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone to discuss his transfer to Spain.
In the meantime, Blanc can enjoy a rare serene moment after
months of criticism against the lack of imagination of his side. PSG is now
unbeaten in 13 matches and the French media was unanimous in hailing
Wednesday's win over Monaco as a display of collective force.
"The way we are playing is improving," Blanc said.
"We created a lot of chances against a team which has a reputation for
being strong defensively. We scored two goals and could have had one or two
more. That shows that we still have work to do in that area.
"But the biggest satisfaction for me is that, since
January, we have played every three days and have been better than every team
we have played against."For
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