Oscar “Tacuara” Cardozo hits the 20-goal mark for Benfica
Oscar Rene “Tacuara” Cardozo was playing for Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina before going to the Portuguese Benfica. When he was presented in the club at the beginning of the 2007/2008 season, Benfica president announced that Cardozo would score 20 goals in the season.
“Tacuara” is the guarani word for bamboo tree, a common nickame for tall people in Paraguay (Cardozo is 1.94cm or 6”4). He began his football career in rural parts of Paraguay, and as a teenager he would travel to his soccer games on horseback. As a very young player he had three dreams: 1) to play for a club in the capital city, Asuncion, 2) get transferred to Europe, and 3) play for the Paraguayan national team. By age 23, he achieved all of them.
The Paraguayan press spread the rumor that he personally promised that he would score 20 goals for Benfica his first season. Cardozo has since cleared up that it was not he who made the promise, but Benfica president, Luis Filipe Vieira. He got to the 20 goal mark last March 30, in a home game against Pacos de Ferreira. There are still five games to go.
His most distinguishing characteristic is a powerful left foot, which he has used for scoring multiple long distance goals. He is also very good in the air and positions himself well in offensive plays.
He hasn’t quite earned a position on the Paraguayan National team, Haedo and Santa Cruz have been the regular starters. He played his first game for the “Albirroja” in a friendly game against the hometeam Mexico, where he came through with a last minute goal giving Paraguay a 1-0 victory a few weeks before the Copa America 2007.
In the World Cup qualifiers, he came on in the 2nd half against Peru, and also for a very short time against Uruguay. Due to injuries, he couldn’t appear before Ecuador and Chile.
My favorite Tacuara goal is a free-kick he scored against River Plate of Argentina, when playing for Newell’s Old Boys. Click here to watch. Before this game Cardozo called his former agent in Paraguay to tell him about how beautiful the River changing rooms were. Later, he went out to the field and scored two goals. The game ended a 3-3 draw.
For the more recent Benfica goals click here. Great sound!
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