Óscar Cardozo

Óscar Cardozo
Óscar Rene Cardozo
Personal information
Full name Óscar René Cardozo Marín
Date of birth 20 May 1983 (1983-05-20) (age 28)
Place of birth Juan Eulogio Estigarribia, Paraguay
Height 1.92 m (6 ft 3 12 in)[1]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Benfica
Number 7
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 3 de Febrero 34 (20)
2005–2006 Nacional Asunción 34 (20)
2006–2007 Newell's Old Boys 33 (21)
2007– Benfica 113 (74)
National team
2007– Paraguay 40 (8)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 October 2011.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 1 April 2011

Óscar René Cardozo Tacuara (born 20 May 1983) is a Paraguayan footballer who currently plays as a striker for Portuguese club S.L. Benfica. He is a prolific goalscorer known for his powerful left-foot finishes and free-kick taking.



Early career

Cardozo played for Club 24 de Junio and 3 de Febrero of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. On 10 August 2003, Cardozo scored a brace against Nacional. Again, on 7 May 2004, he scored another brace, this time against san Lorenzo. For 3 de Febrero, he scored 20 goals in the Paraguayan Second Division.

He then moved to Club Nacional in 2005, where he quickly established himself as the team's top scorer. In one season, he scored 29 goals, including six braces and one hat-trick.

Newell's Old Boys

Cardozo arrived at Newell's Old Boys in the second half of the 2006–07 season for a transfer fee of $1.2 million after scoring 17 goals for Nacional in the Primera División de Paraguay and the Apertura and Clausura tournament. At Newell's, he joined fellow Paraguayans Diego Gavilán, Santiago Salcedo, and Justo Villar and became an immediate success, netting 11 goals in 16 games in the Apertura and Clausura 2006 tournament. As a result of his good performances, Cardozo was voted as the 2006 winner of the Paraguayan Footballer of the Year award.

The Paraguayan international started the 2007 season brilliantly: he notched up 10 goals for Newell's and was crucial in the Argentine team's escaping from the cellar of the Apertura and Clausura tournament. His recent success earned him a spot in the Paraguay national team that took part in the 2007 Copa America.


2007–08 season

On 21 June 2007, Cardozo officially signed for Portuguese giants S.L. Benfica, after being bought for an approximate amount of €9.2 million for 80% of his playing rights.[2][3] This made Cardozo the second most expensive signing in the club's history, only surpassed by the former team star and captain Simão (for whom Benfica paid €12 million in 2001).

Cardozo has been influential for Benfica in the Portuguese Liga, scoring two goals against Clube Desportivo Nacional in Funchal, Madeira, scoring the second from 20 meters away to put the ball past Diego Benaglio in glorious fashion. His exploits in the Liga led manager José Antonio Camacho to start him in the UEFA Champion's League where, in six games, he scored three goals. His first goal came against Scottish club Celtic in Lisbon, a game where he alone hit the bar twice but, with less than seven minutes to go, a play created by Freddy Adu which then reached Ángel di María was passed overhead to Cardozo, who then rattled Artur Boruc's goal and ended up giving Benfica the lead. He also won the Man of the Match award that night. His goal scoring did not stop there: with Benfica playing Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, he managed two goals to give Benfica the win, again winning Man of the Match honours.

On 19 January 2008, Cardozo scored his first Portuguese Cup goal against Clube Desportivo Feirense in dramatic fashion. After scoring the goal, he then celebrated by removing his jersey and offering it to a fan; he was then given a yellow card for his action.

Cardozo is a free-kick specialist and often takes free-kicks for Benfica. His first free-kick goal for the club came against Vitória de Guimarães in Guimarães: Cardozo, or Tacuara as he is known by Benfica fans, scored a goal from 35 meters out, making headlines not only in Portugal but all across Europe for his beautiful strike.[citation needed]

On 22 February 2008, he scored a goal against FC Nuremberg in the 89th minute in the UEFA Cup, a crucial goal for Benfica to advance to the Round of 16.

On 3 March 2008, in the Lisbon Derby, Cardozo scored the equalizing goal to give Benfica a 1–1 draw against their rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal. The goal was off a Rui Costa corner in which Cardozo headed past young goalkeeper Rui Patrício to boost Benfica's chance at a direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League. On 6 April 2008, in a match against Boavista, Cardozo completed a promise he made to score 20 goals in all competition for Benfica.[4]

2008–09 season

On 30 August 2008, during the classic Benfica vs. FC Porto fixture, Cardozo scored the equalizing goal to give Benfica a 1–1 draw against another one of their biggest rivals. He saw limited playing time in the first half of the season, but came out strong during the latter stages of the season.

On 21 March 2009, he won his first title after Benfica beat their rivals Sporting in the Portuguese League Cup final.

In the last 10 games of the season, he scored eight goals. He ended the season as the second-highest goalscorer in Portugal, with 17 goals, losing only to Liédson of Sporting.

2009–10 season

Cardozo had a positive 2009–10 pre-season, scoring eight goals in ten games. On 31 August 2009, he scored a hat trick, helping Benfica to a fantastic 8–1 win over Vitória de Setúbal.[5][6]

During a Europa League Group Stage match against Everton on 22 October 2009, Tacuara scored two goals in two minutes, helping Benfica to a 5–0 thrashing at the Estádio da Luz.[7][8][9] Cardozo scored another hat trick against Clube Desportivo Nacional, in which Benfica won 6–1. Cardozo managed to get yet another hat trick on 6 December when Benfica hammered Académica de Coimbra 4–0. He missed a decisive penalty kick against Vitória de Setúbal on 6 February 2010 in the 90th minute, where the game ended in a 1–1 draw. In the next game, Cardozo scored a wonderful goal, helping his team reach the League Cup final after Benfica won 4–1 against Sporting CP.

Cardozo scored Benfica's single winning goal against Os Belenenses, which took his goal total to 17 goals in the league and 23 overall, which was a personal record for him at Benfica, surpassing the 22 goals he scored in his first season. Cardozo scored his 18th league goal and 26 overall against FC Paços de Ferreira in a 3–1 win, also assisting the first goal. Cardozo again scored the game winning goal against Nacional, taking his tally to 19. He also scored a goal in the final of the Portuguese League Cup in which Benfica won 3–0 over FC Porto, taking his tally to 28 overall in the season. Cardozo took his tally to 30 goals overall by scoring two penalties against Liverpool in the 2009–10 UEFA Europa League quarter-finals first leg in which Benfica won 2–1.[10] On 8 April 2010, he also scored in the return leg at Anfield with a free kick, but his side were eliminated after a 4–1 loss.[11]

Cardozo scored his 21st goal in the league against Sporting, in a game where Benfica eventually won 2–0. On 24 April 2010, Cardozo scored another hat-trick against Sporting Clube Olhanense in a 5–0 victory, and on 9 May, Cardozo scored two goals against Rio Ave FC, helping Benfica winning the League.

He finished this season with 38 goals overall and 26 goals in the League, beating Radamel Falcao of FC Porto and thus winning the Golden Boot.

His impressive form has attracted interest from a number of clubs including FC Barcelona, and reports say Benfica may be willing to sell at £11 million.

International career

On 5 June 2007, Cardozo made his senior international debut at the age of 24 in friendly against Mexico. He scored the game's only goal.

He was part of the team that reached the quarter-finals in the 2007 Copa América and scored a goal against the United States.

He scored two goals in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification. On 29 June 2010, Cardozo scored the winning penalty against Japan in a 5–3 penalty shoot-out victory at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, as Paraguay qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.[12] In the quarter-finals, however, Cardozo missed a penalty kick in the 59th minute in a 0–0 game against Spain, where the Paraguayans eventually lost 1–0 on an 85th minute goal from David Villa.[13]

International goals

Óscar Cardozo: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 5 June 2007 Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, Mexico  Mexico 0 – 1 0–1 Friendly
2 28 June 2007 Estadio Agustín Tovar, Barinas, Venezuela  United States 1 – 2 1–3 2007 Copa América
3 15 October 2008 Estadio Defensores del Chaco, Asunción, Paraguay  Peru 1 – 0 1–0 World Cup 2010 Qualifying
4 10 October 2009 Polideportivo Cachamay, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela  Venezuela 0 – 2 1–2 World Cup 2010 Qualifying
5 29 March 2011 LP Field, Nashville, United States  United States 0 – 1 0–1 Friendly
6 2 September 2011 Estadio Rommel Fernández, Panama City, Panama  Panama 0 – 1 0–2 Friendly
7 6 September 2011 Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras  Honduras 0 – 2 0–3 Friendly
8 6 September 2011 Estadio Olímpico Metropolitano, San Pedro Sula, Honduras  Honduras 0 – 3 0–3 Friendly


Cardozo is called "Tacuara" which in Guarani, a Paraguayan Indian language, means "big cane." In Benfica, some fans have created a chant for the support that was often sung at the stadium. The chants were: Tenham cuidado/ Ele é perigoso/ Ele é o Óscar Tacuara Cardozo (Be Careful/ He is dangerous/ He is the Óscar Tacuara Cardozo) Nosso avançado/ Habilidoso/ Faz o golo, Óscar Cardozo (Our striker/ Skilful/ Score the Goal, Óscar Cardozo) [14]

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
3 de Febrero 2003 * * * * - - 0 0 * *
2004 * * * * - - 0 0 * *
Total * 20 * * - - 0 0 * 20
Club Nacional 2004 14 3 * * - - 0 0 14 3
2005 29 9 * * - - 0 0 29 9
2006 20 10 * * - - 0 0 20 17
Total 63 29 * * - - 0 0 63 29
Newell's Old Boys 2006–07 33 21 * * - - * * 33 21
Total 33 21 * * - - * * 33 21
Benfica 2007–08 29 13 5 5 0 0 11 4 45 22
2008–09 26 17 2 0 4 0 3 0 35 17
2009–10 29 26 0 0 5 2 13 10 47 38
2010–11 22 12 5 5 2 1 12 5 42* 23
2011–12 7 6 0 0 0 0 5 2 11* 7
Total 113 74 12 10 11 3 45 21 180 108
Career total 214 135 12 10 11 3 45 21 276 180
  • Last updated on 14/09/2011

* Includes 1 match in the Portuguese Supercup

Honours and awards

3 de Febrero

  • Paraguayan Segunda División: 2004



  • Paraguayan Footballer of the Year: 2006, 2009
  • Portuguese Liga Top Scorer: 2009–10
  • UEFA Europa League top scorer: 2009–10
  • Portuguese League Player of the Month: May 2009


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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