Edinson Cavani to join Villarreal as Boca Juniors concede defeat

Boca Juniors vice-president Juan Roman Riquelme has conceded defeat in the club’s efforts to sign former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, who is set to remain in Europe and join Villarreal.

Cavani has been a free agent since leaving United at the end of June, having established himself as a cult hero in his first season in Manchester but enduring an injury-hit second year. Prior to that, he had scored a club record 200 goals during seven years at PSG.

The veteran Uruguayan has been heavily linked with a return to his native South America for the last couple of years and specifically to Argentine giants Boca.

“There was a lot of talk, but he was always very clear with me,” Riquelme told ESPN. “When we have the possibility of a star coming to our club, we don’t hesitate.

“Cavani was very clear with me. Villarreal.”

Space in the Villarreal squad is to be made as Paco Alcacer nears a move to Saudi Arabia.

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The 35-year-old started his career with Montevideo-based side Danubio, joining the club’s youth ranks aged 13. Cavani then left for Europe at 20, signing with Palermo in Italy, where he made his name before being poached by Napoli and becoming a prolific goalscorer.

Cavani scored at least 33 goals in all competitions in each of his three seasons with Napoli, which was enough to convince PSG to part with €64m to take him to the French capital.

He often played second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his early years with PSG, but once the Swede left Cavani’s numbers considerably jumped and he netted 49 times in 50 games in 2016/17 alone.

Spain and La Liga will represent a fifth different country for Cavani’s career after Uruguay, Italy, France and England.

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