Edinson Cavani has revealed that a piece of advice given to him by his father as a child has helped the Manchester United forward forge a long and successful career in elite football.
The 35-year-old recently played his part in Uruguay’s qualification for the 2022 World Cup and it’ll be a fourth consecutive finals appearance for him should he make it into Diego Alonso’s squad for Qatar later this year.
Cavani is fit again and ready to go ahead of United’s final nine games of the Premier League season and he will be keen to add to his 19 goals so far in a red shirt.
That Edinson is still featuring at the top level 15 years on from first moving to Europe with Palermo in January 2007 is testament to the professional manner in which he approaches the game.
The key, according to the former Napoli and PSG forward, is consistency, and that line from his dad which still resonates.
“I think what has helped me in my career to stay at the elite level of the game for many years, like other players and strikers from the past, is consistency,” began the Uruguayan.
“What gives you that consistency is the way you approach your training and preparation, and the need on many occasions to forego many other things in life – the things we forsake a lot of the time as players.
“So, all those steps you take are what give you the chance to maintain a consistent level. When you’ve made it to where you want to be and to remain consistent and keep your levels high, the only thing to do is to always abide by what it was that took you to that level in the first place.
“Consistency is the key element here, and my dad always used to say to me as a kid, he’d go, “The hard bit isn’t making it as a player, what’s tough is staying there.”
“That is something that has always stuck with me, and I’ve always then tried to make the right choices and to apply myself well in everything I do, in order to maintain my levels of consistency and remain at the highest level of the game.
“So today I’m grateful to my father for his advice, and I think, not only in football but in other fields too, being consistent is what keeps you going and ensures you stay on the right track.”
As players get older, some will adapt their training methods in order to maximise their time left at the top – Ryan Giggs, for example, famously attributed his longevity to a change in diet and taking up yoga.
However, Cavani says his own methods haven’t changed and that, for him, training is all about replicating what you’re going to do on the pitch.
“No. I have never altered the way I train, never. I’ve always trained in the same way. I’ve always been of a mind that you play just like you train,” Edi added.
“To be able to play like you train, without a doubt you need to train well, because you need to be able to go out and really compete on the pitch and to compete you have to be 100 per cent fit.
“So, it’s quite normal that as time goes by, you begin to grow and develop as a player, and you learn a lot of things, but the day that I have to stop training with the same intensity as I’ve always done, irrespective of how old I am, I think that will be the day that I cease to play football.”