Another European-based piece with the Portuguese and Spanish leagues coming to an end and Oscar ‘Tacuara’ Cardozo was crowned topscorer in the Primeira Liga once more (actually joint with Braga’s Lima). In Spain Paulo Da Silva was involved in one of the greatest escapes in recent years as Zaragoza strung together four straight wins to save themselves from relegation at the expense of Hernan Perez’s Villarreal. Here are some highlights.
Oscar Cardozo (Benfica)
The striker from Caaguazu was already Benfica’s all-time highest scoring foreigner last season and added another honour to his trophy cabinet by becoming the league’s topscorer for the second time in his career. His best return in a league season was 26 goals back in 2009/10 but this was his second best scoring performance as Tacuara grabbed 20 league goals. He also enjoyed success in the League Cup which Benfica won for a fourth successive season, Cardozo scored the all-important winner in the semi-final against Porto. All Oscar’s league goals are here (via Ricardo Martins):
Lorenzo Melagarejo (Paços de Ferreira) – staying in Portugal and it has been a wonderful debut season for the former Independiente striker who bagged 10 league goals as his side finished a respecatable tenth. Melgarejo, who we’ve featured on here before, has performed so well that he will be recalled to parent club Benfica for next season and has been included in Chiqui Arce’s 27-man squad for the Bolivian World Cup Qualifier.
Juan Manuel Iturbe (Porto)
While not the breakthrough season he would have hoped for, getting just a handful of minutes of playing time, Iturbe was able to celebrate a league title and re-itereated on his return to Paraguay that he would not be rejoining Cerro Porteño. He will hope for more appearances next season to show the world what a fantastic talent he is.
Paulo da Silva (Real Zaragoza) – the central defender was in and out of the team at the start of the season but was a key member in that incredible run of results (8 wins from 11) that saved them from relegation. The 32-year-old former Sunderland defender made 27 starts, scored one goal (vs Espanyol) and received four bookings.
Roque Santa Cruz (Real Betis) – A satisfactory season for the former Bayern Munich and Manchester City striker who netted seven league goals to finish second topscorer in the side behind Rubén Castro. Thankfully he remained relatively injury-free, this was the most games he’d managed to play in a season since that wonderful term with Blackburn Rovers in 2007/08.
Hernan Pérez (Villarreal) – Relegated to the ‘Segunda’ but you can hardly blame the Paraguayan winger who was frozen out for much of the season. Once new coach Lotina was appointed then Perez got game time and did very well, he scored three goals in the last seven games. His overall tally for the season was four goals from 12 starts for the Ñemby native and his late surge in form earned him a recall to the Paraguay squad.