Edinson Cavani's Desire to Join Real Madrid Could Shake Foundation of La Liga

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2013

NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 12:  Edinson Cavani of Napoli celebrates the victory after the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and AC Siena at Stadio San Paolo on May 12, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Edinson Cavani is a wanted man. 

Unless you've been gallivanting the countryside in areas without cell phone service or Wi-Fi over these past couple of months—do those areas still exist?—you've surely heard ad nauseam of the rampant chase for the Uruguayan forward's signature.

While Cavani and his current club, Serie A outfit Napoli, have said the right things over these past few weeks, his impending departure has been a looming force for months. Even as Napoli was trying to hold off a charging Milan for second place in the Serie A table, with a guaranteed spot in the group phase of Champions League play coming along, Cavani was acknowledging the potential of a departure.

"I'm fine in Naples, but in football there are lots of things to consider," Cavani told La Repubblica in April (h/t ESPN). "I can only say that I will give my all in this shirt until the last day I wear it."

Napoli wound up finishing second in the table, with Cavani continuing to play the best soccer of his life. But from that noncommittal quote forward, one thing seemed clear: These would be his final games in Naples.

You'll also be surprised to find out that other teams took notice and began lining up at the door for his services. In what will surely be one of the most interesting summer transfer markets in recent memory, there has arguably been no hotter name than Cavani.

That being said, there were only going to be a limited number of teams available to make the chase. Napoli put a price of €65 million on the 26-year-old's head, a staggering figure that dwindles the potential suitors to only the world's deepest pockets.

And that's exactly how it's played out. Since April, Cavani has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Chelsea and many others, teams known for their willingness to spend. 

But as the tepid June temperature begins ramping up for a red-hot July, it's become increasingly obvious that there only two real suitors for Cavani. How to we know that? Well, because his parents told us, of course.  

First, Cavani's mother, Berta Gomez, leaked to a Montevideo radio station that City and Madrid were the two clubs her son has had negotiations with, noting that Chelsea was a secondary player. 

“Edi is dealing with Real Madrid and City," Gomez said (h/t Mirror). "Napoli president De Laurentiis has spoken with Chelsea, but so far there is nothing concrete. In two or three weeks we will know Edinson’s future. As soon as we know something concrete you will be the first to know."

Her mentioning of Chelsea being in the back of the pack jives with what the press has heard of late. Jason Burt of The Telegraph has reported that Jose Mourinho has turned his attention to Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski rather than engaging in a bidding war for Cavani. Cut to Blues fans comparing Cavani and Lewandowski's goal totals from last season and throwing a brick out their window.

Cavani's parents weren't done shelling out information to the press. His father, Luis, talked with Marca TV in Spain (h/t The Guardian) and completely let the cat out of the bag about his son's overall intentions this season.

You won't want to read on if you're a fan of City. 

"Cavani's intention is to play for Madrid," Luis Cavani said. "He is excited about it and is very willing to see it through. He has told the family in private that he wants to join Real Madrid but if he declares it publicly it will annoy Napoli."

Thanks, Pops. Something tells me when Edinson heard that quote, he went right for this track on his iPhone.  

There's no need to comment on Cavani's parents' decision to leak his intentions to the press any further, but his father's claims are particularly interesting. Assuming Luis Cavani speaks the truth about his son's intentions—and we have no reason to think he isn't—Edinson could be on the precipice of a decision that could fundamentally alter La Liga going forward.

It's well known that Cristiano Ronaldo and Real have had quite the tenuous relationship during this past season. He was reportedly "sad" all the way back in September, when he forewent his trademarked post-goal celebrations. And as negotiations between the two sides on a new contract continue to falter, there's been increasing speculation that Ronaldo could head elsewhere—as soon as this summer.

Ronaldo even did something relatively rare on Twitter this week, publicly denying rumors that he and Real had come to a new contract: 

The Telegraph's Mark Ogden reported that many top teams around the world took that tweet as a sign that Ronaldo could be available this summer. Manchester United is said to be particularly keen on bringing Ronaldo back to Old Trafford, where the 28-year-old forward played from 2003-09. 

Could a Cavani transfer be the final nail in Ronaldo's Madrid Coffin? That's unclear. Ronaldo and Cavani play different positions on the pitch; therefore, this move puts no direct impetus on Los Blancos to make a move. But Cavani and Ronaldo are two players who need the ball to be at their most effective, and the strange chemistry for United forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney could give the new Real boss a little hesitance.

Should Real look to sell Ronaldo after landing Cavani—working under the theory that they do, indeed, land Cavani—it would mark the end of an era.

On the other hand, should Real go in the other direction and keep both players, well, that's the sound of fear heading straight to the hearts of La Liga opponents.

F.C. Barcelona had one of the most dominant seasons in La Liga history this past season, losing only twice en route to a 100-point showing. A Ronaldo-Cavani pairing could put these two sides on equal footing. There would be no safe side of the field, nowhere to shade on defense without possibly leaving one or the other open. 

Again, this is all hypothetical. Napoli could have seen Luis Cavani's comments and pull out of negotiations with Real within the hour. Transfer season is fickle like that.

But should this happen, it's hard not to get excited about the endless domino effects. 

 

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