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Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:07

The curious case of Oscar Cardozo

Benfica’s all-time top foreign goalscorer leaves Lisbon club

oscar-cardozo.jpgLet’s face it, strikers are every football fan’s heroes, especially when prolific, right? Wrong, in the case of ex Benfica goal machine Oscar Cardozo. The 31 year-old has completed his transfer to Trabzonspor for a fee that could rise to €5.6 million. Despite an incredible record of 172 goals in 295 games over seven seasons in the Portuguese capital, the big Paraguayan marksman bewilderingly never became an uncontested favourite of the Estádio da Luz faithful.
In 2010 Cardozo was forced to proffer a public apology after making the “shut up” gesture to his team’s own supporters in Lisbon. It was his second response to the booing aimed at him in the Champions League match against Hapoel Tel Aviv. His first riposte had been to score. “Óscar Cardozo – Vengence for an unrequited love” was the poetic headline chosen to describe the incident (one of several of similar ilk) in a wonderful appreciation of the player by Portuguese journalist João Perfeito.

Guarantee of goals

Cardozo had scored 60 goals in the previous two years. He would continue to outdo the claim made by Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira upon his arrival at the club. “Benfica have bought a striker who will guarantee us 20 goals a season,” confidently predicted Vieira. His average was closer to thirty.
Not since the time of Mário Jardel at FC Porto has there been such a consistently prolific striker in Portugal. Porto’s Falcao and Jackson Martínez did it for two seasons, but Cardozo maintained his incredible average over six straight seasons, for the first time failing to hit twenty goals in 2013/14 as he struggled against injury throughout much of the campaign. Sporting’s Liedson was a wonderful servant for the Lions for nigh on a decade, but his numbers fall a long way short of Cardozo’s.
Yet, as recently as 2012/13, whistles and boos continued to reverberate around the Luz, aimed at Cardozo by a sizeable section of ingrates among Benfica’s fans. Coach Jorge Jesus felt obliged in a press conference to admit: “I understand that Cardozo irritates the supporters sometimes. He irritates me sometimes. But in and around the box he is lethal. One of the best strikers in the world.”
And criticism of the goalscorer was not limited to the ‘blind irrationality of the mob’.
Carlos Daniel is one of Portugal’s foremost newscasters and journalists. Last year he turned his considerable intelligence to football punditry. Amidst his weekly analysis, characterised by astute observations and well-argued opinions, he launched what amounted to a campaign for Cardozo’s removal from Benfica’s first team. The striker slowed down Benfica’s attacking game and was inhibiting the development of Brazilian-born U21 Spain striker Rodrigo, Daniel argued.

Substance over style

Daniel’s assertion that Cardozo slows down Benfica’s game is telling. Aesthetically speaking, Jorge Jesus’ easy-on-the-eye brand of fast-flowing, at times frenetic football, interwoven with moments of sublime skill, is the very antithesis of Cardozo’s game.
His style is at complete odds to Benfica’s magnificent array of attacking players over recent years. Set alongside the zippy Salvio, the fleet-of-foot Saviola, the extravagantly skilled Gaitán, or the strong, selfless and direct running of Lima, Cardozo’s ungainly and ponderous approach is brought into sharp relief.
But give him the ball on his left foot within 20 yards of goal, an inkling of space, and BOOM. No need for pretty patterns when the ball is rocketing past a groping goalkeeper.
“I’m very grateful to Benfica. I consider it my home, because of the president, the people, the city of Lisbon; they will always be in my heart,” said Cardozo upon his transfer to Turkey. If he replicates anywhere near his best form in Turkey, he will finally get to see some love replicated, and enjoy the adulation normally afforded a striker of his prowess. Adulation that is long overdue.
by Tom Kundert
Comments (18)
a joke of a lfv
18 Wednesday, 20 August 2014 02:00
He will like the club with is tale between his legs .lfv stop hidden behind Rui Costa.
Had some time on my hands...
17 Saturday, 09 August 2014 13:00
Orlando Mac
So created this video..

Like to add a little humour every now and then.

I usually post them to twitter..

You can follow me @orlandomaxxx


slb ..hmmm i smell a debt
16 Saturday, 09 August 2014 01:04
look the way i see it benfica stacked up hard the last 5 years and have put themselves in debt. Don't be fooled. The minute they won the league the fire sale HAD to start. Why sell rodrigo and gomes to an agent? that was very strange.

Cardozo had his time here did all he could and was a good fk taker for us.

Gaitan and Lusiao are lifers and everyone else is a revolving door. Now I'm a bit puzzled by the loaning approach. It must be a way to save money on the young talent since the team taking the loan pays the salary.

Oh well, JJ doesn't like his fellow countrymen so off they go. Yes we could at least have a team with youth and admit to the debt but instead lets hide it and pretend to stack up with talentless players.

Good luck SLB
Oliveira to replace cardoso?? really
15 Friday, 08 August 2014 12:53
Only reason he is still benfica player is nobody will buy him, after they borrow him for 1 year want nothing to do with him.
His goals in benfica entire career and last 2 teams don't equal Cardoso one season.
But he is smart got a very good salary out of benfica.
One knows things starting to go bad at Benfica when fans start to talk Nelson as a solution!!! LOL
To be a fan favorite it takes more than being a great player
14 Thursday, 07 August 2014 23:27
Being a great player doesn't guarantee being a fan favorite.Lots of fan favorites are mediocre at best or can even stink. For whatever reason they've endeared themselves to the fans, something Cardozo obviously failed to do.Plenty of comparisons in other sports, especially the US.
13 Thursday, 07 August 2014 14:41
Cardozo did what he was paid to do score goals.He lacked intensity but his seemly coolness in front of goal never overdoing just keeping it simple possible was the right approach for a guy of his build and mold.
I appreciated the goals but when you tell your fans to shut up,physically abuse your coach on TV plus the loser agent all i can say is good luck with your new team ADIOS! other then the great Eusebio no player is bigger then Benfica.
Hasta la vista
12 Thursday, 07 August 2014 12:53
Glad to see him go. In a way he'll be missed but the reality is that he's lost a step or two and looks frustrated and frustrates those around him. Better to get something for him now than nothing later after another year or two. Give Bebe or Oliveira a chance.
Wish him the best
11 Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:21
Cardozo was never the prettiest of players or the slickest, but he did get the job done. Many have called him lazy and slow and stated that he didn't put forth the effort. I disagree. He was never that type of player. He positioned himself well and no matter what you say he produced.
If anything we've let him go too late. This was more about salary dump than cashing in. People were angry when his agent, and him, tried to get more money or be sold. He was right, why not get the most you can.
Whether due to injuries or age, he wasn't the same last campaign or this preseason. I get it.

I wish him the best and I think he'll be brought back into the fold as he ages into retirement.
10 Wednesday, 06 August 2014 21:39
Possibly the highest loss the summer car boot sales has brought. A lot of rivas will be hapy to see him go not just because of his goals but because of his physical presence in the pitch.
Z / Canada
9 Wednesday, 06 August 2014 14:01
A festa ACABOU
Yes I am back...

Its been delightful following the pre season

the BES crash, and the Benfica fire sale , not a coincidence

years of desperate spending and living beyond their means, it was all a façade. Its all crumbling now...

and Cardozo was never appreciated, because most of their fans are "Burros" and don't understand his importance in finishing chances and how he was the main reason why they won so many derby matches

3 Jornada, reality will hit home ...


keep voting LFV in, he is doing wonders for the health of your clubs finances

I wonder if "Novo Banco" will keep giving endless lines of credit again.
8 Wednesday, 06 August 2014 00:14
Really surprised Benfica sold him. You can say whatever you want about the guy, but he produced... consistently and for a lot of years. As a Portista, I won't miss his goal scoring antics in the Liga LOL. As a striker, the guy was great at his job. No one can deny the numbers.

It really looks like JJ "won" and that's why Oscar was sold. I still think he had a lot more goals in him and in some respects, deserved better treatment for what he has done for the team. Also, I remember the whisperings last year or so that he was on the market, and the rumours were that the price was a lot higher than 5.6 million. I may be wrong about that, but if my memory serves me correctly, LFV totally dropped the ball on this one.
The fans had their reasons
7 Wednesday, 06 August 2014 00:01
First of all, he was an outstanding goalscorer and a rarity in terms of how long he stayed in our liga. The fact that we held on to him for all of his prime is amazing and I wish him luck in the football version of retirement where hopefully he can play several years and earn some good paychqs. He's earned it.

In terms of why fans would get upset with him. There was that horrible hit to warrant several game suspensions in the CL several years back, to a nasty elbow on a Porto player a couple of years ago. Throw in him not wanting to hustle for the ball and he showed that a little bit effort could take him from great to amazing. There was also that saga a few years back where his agent came out against the club and trying to force him move out. Well played by the club to hold on to him as it paid off in countless goals scored for our club.

I guess it all comes down attitude. People have to remember that during his time we saw other players such as Rui Costa and Aimar that just presented a different level of class and higher expectations from what should have been a leader for the club.

If he had scored some of his chances against Chelsea in the EL final two years ago, we could be talking about one of the all time greats but at times he failed at some on some of the more important matches (outside of Sporting, he seemed to bent that club over any day of the week).

My last comment will be on the salary space this frees up for Benfica. If we end up being able to renew Enzo's contract and keep him longer because we just removed one of the most expensive players on our squad, I would be happy with that.

I'm grateful for all the goals he provided and the memories. Great player and will go down in history as one of the many great players that has been at Benfica. I wish him luck at his new club.
No Mystery
6 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:54
Why wasn't Cardozo popular with A Luz faithful? It's simple...He is lazy and does not hustle. That is why Benfiquistas never got behind him.
Andre I have to agree with you on LFV with this sale..
5 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:40
Orlando Mac
This sale along with the Garay one are the ones that are going to hurt the most.

But let's be honest LFV is just trying to save face on the manager.. so had to sell him.. it is not like JJ was going to give him tons of playing time anyways.. so LFV had to cut his losses.

JJ is to blame, his direct squad selections, substitutions, and formations are what led to the melt down a couple of seasons ago.. and his questioning of Cardozo is what led to the bust-up in the Taca de Merda that saw Cardozo push JJ.

Take Tom's JJ quote from this article...
"I understand that Cardozo irritates the supporters sometimes. He irritates me sometimes. "

Cardozo is a very polarizing type of player.. because the majority of time he doesn't look pretty.

But through all that hate and tribulations he loved Benfica.. it was so evident every time he scored.. his eagle runs into the corner.. will always live in my mind.. as some of the happiest moments at Benfica.. over the last decade.

I have loved him from day one.. dubbing him the Goaldozer.. slow and awkward but too much to handle in the box.. he was all power and industrial.. nothing pretty about him.

A lot of the boo birds love Gaitan a player who is all flash and dash.. and would depart the club in a heartbeat.. someone who has to have 10 cracks at goal a game to get 4 goals in a season.. but when he scores they are magnificent.

Cardozo is all substance.. a meaty man who just needs a good pass or cross to cripple the worlds best CB's, so many Portuguese players could learn from the Goaldozer's simplicity and positioning.

Through his whole tenure he was much maligned by his Managers for his style, always looking to replace him and never finding a solution to his goal production. Last season in 15 games mostly as a late sub with 677 mins of play and injuries.. he scored 7 goals in contrast the Golden boy Rodrigo who Carlos Daniel an elitist know-it-all loved played in 26 games of which 22 were starts and scored only 11 goals in the liga.. should stick to the arts Mr. Daniel.. you can find more pretty visuals in artwork, the opera, and in good theatre.. this is futebol.. and sometimes o jogo bonito gets blown out by a team that brings their lunch pails and plays as a unit.

That brings me to Landon thank you for reminding us of the 2008/9 season as it is the perfect example of the Goaldozers tenure at the club.

That was the year of the Kinky Flowers reign at the helm of the Reds.. he too like Daniel is a genius in his own mind.

He got LFV to bring in Sauzo from Milan (I refer to him as So-Zero for the amount of goals he scored a game but he was very pretty to look at). Flowers didn't like the look of Cardozo either even tho his goal tally at the club was already impressive. He went 2/3rds of the season with SoZero.. who scored 4 total goals in the Liga, before he succumbed to an injury. Cardozo ended up playing the last third.. and scored 17 goals.

It is a perfect depiction of the Goaldozer's tenure at the club.. never being appreciated for his abilities.

For me Cardozo like Luisao was a player too valuable to the club, more than any transfer fee they can get.. that is why Luisao & Maxi will never get moved... they are worth more than the market will pay. Cardozo too is that type of player.. and I have said it for years.. as Andre stated.. his type of play does not age.. all he needs is younger players around him to give him a good ball.. we could've used him and Lima for a few seasons with some young strikers to continually fill the banks with goals.

The difference with him and Lima a player older also is that Lima's game does require speed.. and he will be done in a season.. if not already. So they got rid of the wrong man.. and they only one that can take blame for that is JJ.

LFV is just protecting his Manager and chose wrongly in my estimation last year and backed the Manager instead of the Goaldozer. I think we could've got 5 years out of Oscar.. and I don't think JJ has 5 seasons left at the club.

Oscar is a winner.. and hates losing.. that is why he clashed with JJ.. if JJ was a bigger man and not such an egotist he could've resolved everything last year.. made some comment as I just made.. they both could've saved face.. and both stayed. In the end he was as hard headed as Bento.. and we have to say good-bye to one of the greatest strikers ever at Benfica.

He will not be easily replaced.. and this sale will hurt the club.. especially in Europe.. this decision will cost us 10's of millions of Euros in revenues. So I sure hope LFV has some miracle in his bag.. but like Andre I seriously think he doesn't and it will take another 30 striker purchases to get a striker of half of Cardozo's worth.

NJ wisely said in another thread that the Manager gets to see all the players much more than the fans.. and it is very true.. but sometimes being too close makes you blind of what is going on around you.

If your head is up your ar$e and you have a bunch of Yes-men surrounding you.. sometimes you need to get a fresh outside perspective.

It also wouldn't hurt to look at the stats.. especially the important ones like Goals and Avg Goals Per Minutes Played as there would be no question who has been King at this club for the last decade.. even in the face of adversity and miss-management.

I don't blame JJ solely for it as he was the last in a long line of Managers including the Goaldozer's National Team Managers that blew that decision because of aesthetics.

All the best Oscar.. you will always reign in my heart as the best striker at Benfica not named Eusebio.

Eusebio himself came to Oscar's defence last season... because he was a wise fan who loved his club (not small minded as some others):


Thanks for the chant Mario Brothers...

You can save this link for future reference..

goodbye OC7
4 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:42
Mario brothers/canada

im going to miss that chant. good luck in turkey oscar
3 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:37
Cardozo will be missed : ( He was the best forward Benfica had in years. He could score with his head, killer left foot, on free kicks and penalties. Deep down every Benfiquista will have a soft spot for him. He has made history with this club by being the all time foreign top goal scorer. You will be missed tacuara

btw he fail to hit 20+ in 08-09, he only had 17 that season
pre season
2 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:19
I don't normally watch preseason but when I do, I see Benfica so much fun to see!!! LOL
1 Tuesday, 05 August 2014 10:48
Don't count me as one of those who didn't like Cardozo, I was always a fan from his first season onwards, a unique forward and perhaps a dying breed type of centre forward. Sure he has no pace, offers nothing defensively....but who cares about all that when he scores as many as he does. All he needs is to be given the ball in the box, and he scores, and his left foot shot is as good as any in world football.

Yet another rediculously stupid sale this summer from our ever-increasing joke of a president. What was LFVs plan for this summer? Sell virtually the entire first team from last season, including a few of the more experienced guys, and replace them with cheap, unknown players and get JJ to work miracles in building a brand new team in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately this time JJ has by far the least quality to work with that he's had yet in his time at the club, we disagree on this Orlando Mac. This is looking like the weakest squad in the JJ era. Gonna have to be miracles indeed this time around, from the evidence of this shambles of a pre-season!

What we definitely agree on Orlando (as you mentioned recently in another post), is that Cardozo should have been kept. We get less than 5 million for him? Should've just let him finish his career at the club where he's a legend, he's the type of striker that could still keep scoring for more seasons to come, he's a penalty box predator and these type of strikers (who are not about pace and movement) don't generally fade away from effectiveness so quickly. He could've still been a great option to bring off the bench in second halves of matches to get goals.

Furthermore he was the third most experienced player (7 years at the club) in the squad after Luisao and Maxi, and that experience would have been so useful in this total facelift of the squad this summer. Anyway I wish him all the best in his new adventure in Turkey, but I wish the club had kept him and let him finish his career at the Luz. He deserved that after all he has given to this club.

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