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Cavani leading PSG’s charge to title in French league

05 March 2015, 20:21

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 hardly noticed.

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 buying him.

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."

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- AP


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