Cavani compared to Rooney - Who is it a compliment for?

Napoli’s Edinson Cavani scored a spectacular hat-trick against Roma at the Stadio San Paolo on Sunday, leading his teammate Valon Behrami to compare him to Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.

Behrami said, "Cavani is a world class player, like I've seen Rooney during my experience in England. Edi I think is a player of that level."

However, Behrami’s experiences with Wayne Rooney date back to 2011 before he left West Ham United for Fiorentina and I wonder whether the comparison is still applicable in 2013.

Perhaps it is Rooney who should be flattered by the comparison – the Englishman has scored just 8 goals for United so far this season, a long way off the 25 in 23 appearances the Uruguayan has notched up for Napoli.

Whilst there’s no doubting Rooney’s class and quality, his form, fitness and confidence have certainly come into question this season. Now deployed by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson in a deeper supporting role, the 27-year-old has found himself playing in the shadow of leading Premier League scorer Robin van Persie, whose tally is more than double that of his teammate’s.

The 25-year-old Cavani is fast becoming one of the continent’s most wanted frontmen along with the likes of Radamel Falcao, Robert Lewandowski and Stefan Jovetic. The same can no longer be said of Rooney, the former PFA Player of the Year, FWA World Footballer of the Year, Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner.

However, Rooney’s last hat-trick for United was only back in October of last year against Stoke City – he’s still got the quality and audacity of a world-class striker. It’s just that he’s not the goal-per-game striker he was of seasons passed.

Cavani is emerging as one of the highest calibre forwards on the planet, a category that only a handful of players fall into each season – Robin van Persie is undoubtedly in there but I’m not altogether sure Rooney will ever be again. His undeniable quality is not in contention, but his form, fitness, and application have plateaued if not fallen in the last two or three seasons.

Behrami’s comparison is that of the former Wayne Rooney back in 2009/10 when he was surely the best striker in the world. His challenge now is to try to  recapture that form.

Who is better? Cavani or Rooney? 

image: © jikatu

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