After a short spell in Cyprus, River favorite Fernando Cavenaghi has hung up his boots for good.
River Plate have enjoyed their fair share of top strikers at El Monumental in recent times, with a select few going on to have considerable success among Europe’s top clubs: Hernán Crespo, Gonzalo Higuaín and Radamel Falcao, to name but three. David Trezeguet’s season-long cameo in Buenos Aires will also live long in the memory of Los Millonarios, having helped them bounce back to the Primera División after their collapse in the 2010/11 season. But not many have left the club with a status as revered as that which now belongs to Fernando ‘Cavegol’ Cavenaghi, who yesterday announced his retirement at the age of 33.
Having not played a game for Cypriot side APOEL FC since February due to a recurring injury to ligaments in his right knee, Cavenaghi finishes his career with a respectable 170 career goals, 7 league titles and 5 domestic cups, and gave his thanks to River Plate in an open letter published yesterday.
Following a hugely successful period at the beginning of his career with River in 2001, scoring 55 goals in 88 appearances, Cavenaghi was lured to Europe in 2004 and joined Russia’s Spartak Moscow for a fee of US $9.5 million. From then on, Cavegol both enjoyed and endured a journeyman-esque career across the pond with the likes of Bordeaux and Mallorca, before returning to South America with Brazilian club Internacional in 2011. The lure of guaranteed goals at El Monumental with River relegated to B Nacional, after one strike in two appearances in Porto Alegre, proved to be pretty appealing, leading to his first return to Buenos Aires in the same year. This decision paid off and the man from O’Brien found himself amongst the goals once again, scoring 19 in 37 appearances alongside Trezeguet and Alejandro ‘el Chori’ Domínguez.
Success in Argentina’s second tier led Cavenaghi, perhaps lacking in good advice, to go and have another crack at Europe’s top leagues with Villareal in 2012, scoring 4 goals in 18, before joining Mexico’s Pachuca in 2013, adding another 4 to his tally. Once more, however, the relative proximity to his home country proved too tempting and, for a third spell, Cavenaghi pulled on the ‘banda roja’ and led River to their most successful season in recent years, scoring 21 and winning the league, the Copa Sudamerica and Copa Libertadores respectively.
Many would have thought that this success and his ensured legendary-status at the club would have seen Cavegol bow out at El Monunmental over the following seasons, but no, ‘Captain Fernando’ had to have one last shot at proving himself on Europe’s finest stage – that’s right, the Cypriot First Division. 19 goals in 18 appearances, however, proved the frontman as still being a natural born goalscorer, a reputation that he garnered with the 101 he scored at the club that reveres him so much now in his retirement:
It’s not often a man of so many teams is recognised by one as a legend, but there is no doubt that ‘el Torito’ has managed just that.