Pitchside Europe

Cavani v Falcao: Who is better?

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Ligue 1 has seen two superstar arrivals this summer in the form of Edinson Cavani at champions Paris St-Germain and Radamel Falcao at Monaco.

Moneybags PSG splashed out £55m on Napoli’s Cavani after promoted Monaco signalled their intent with the sensational £52m capture of Falcao from Atletico Madrid.

Which led us to wonder: who would you rather have in your side?

The office was split, so we checked out their stats in domestic European leagues - courtesy of our friends at Opta - and asked our colleagues in France, Italy and Spain what they thought.

It seems that Colombian Falcao is rated slightly higher than Uruguay’s Cavani in Europe, while analysis of their contribution comes back with startlingly similar results…

Cavani, 26, has averaged a goal every 114 minutes in his three seasons at Napoli while Falcao, 27, has scored every 113 minutes since arriving in Spain two seasons ago. Both consistently score more than 20 goals a campaign.

Last season their games played and goals scored totals were almost identical, as were the types of goals, although Cavani did score more with his head.

Cavani fires off significantly more shots and is marginally less accurate – although he did hit the woodwork a ridiculous number of times – while he made more assists.

His off-the-ball movement is cited as a major strength, whereas Falcao is a leading-the-line forward, playing more passes in final third, looking to dribble and competing in the air.

THE STATS

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VIEW FROM EUROPE

Who is the better player? Who will do better in France?

Cedric Rouquette, Eurosport France: Both are huge players, but if I had to pick up only one, as a sports director, it would have been Falcao. Cavani will add a lot to PSG as he is a great fighter, a great runner, a great collective guy, and this team needs this kind of player. Falcao will be surrounded by good creators such as Rodriguez and Moutinho at Monaco, which should help him play to his best level pretty quickly.

Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italy: It’s very difficult to choose, they are both among the best in the world. Falcao is more a traditional striker, while Cavani is a modern one. I will pick Cavani, just because he gives more options to a team and he is able to sacrifice for another forward like he does with Uruguay. Anyway, if Ibra stays it will make it harder for Cavani. And with Falcao you are sure to find a striker with 25-30 goals.

Jose Manuel Antequera, Eurosport Spain: Falcao is a more important player than Cavani. He’s a goalscorer, and that is the hardest thing to find in football.

Will Zlatan Ibrahimovic stay at PSG?

France: There is a good chance he will. I can’t see him leaving for less money and I can’t see who would put this money on the table for him – or PSG accepting to negotiate. They have no reason to do it. On the pitch I think they could play together. But Zlatan hates to see a light shone on his team-mates. It could lead to difficulties.

Italy: I don’t think so. I also think that Lavezzi will leave PSG this summer.

Spain: Reports here say that Ibrahimovic wants to leave PSG and that he would like to play for Real Madrid with his former coach in Paris Carlo Ancelotti…

Can Monaco win the title?

France: Too early to answer. I would be surprised. It seems difficult for a team built from scratch when PSG’s players have played together. And Monaco have been deducted two points from the beginning of the season…

Italy: I don’t think so, but they will be very strong title contenders. Claudio Ranieri must put together a new team and that is hard even if all the new players are very good. Blanc could be a better option than Ancelotti if PSG want to win the league again – but I believe the opposite is the case when it comes to the Champions League…

Spain: Monaco are the main candidates to win the French league with PSG.

What do you think about France’s emergence as a destination for top players?

France: Don’t confuse ‘France’ with ‘PSG and Monaco’. They are in another galaxy to the other French clubs, including Lyon and Marseille, miles ahead. Three of the top six scorers in Europe will be in Ligue 1 this season, at just these two clubs… Europe cannot afford to ignore this ‘tiny’ championship.

Italy: It’s like Manchester City four years ago: in the beginning it was weird to think that big players choose a strange team as their destination, but money makes the difference…

Spain: In Spain there is surprise that France has broken into the market in this way, signing the best players of the moment.

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