Óscar Cardozo

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Cardozo and the second or maternal family name is Marín.
Óscar Cardozo
Óscar Cardozo - Trabzonspor.jpg
Cardozo with Trabzonspor in 2014
Personal information
Full name Óscar René Cardozo Marín
Date of birth (1983-05-20) 20 May 1983 (age 33)
Place of birth Juan Eulogio Estigarribia, Paraguay
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Number 9
Youth career
Club 24 de Junio
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 3 de Febrero 34 (20)
2004–2006 Nacional Asunción 63 (22)
2006–2007 Newell's Old Boys 33 (21)
2007–2014 Benfica 175 (112)
2014–2016 Trabzonspor 50 (25)
2016– Olympiacos 2 (0)
National team
2006– Paraguay 49 (9)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 September 2016.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 October 2013

Óscar René Cardozo Marín (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈoskaɾ reˈne karˈðoso maˈɾin]; born 20 May 1983) is a Paraguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for Greek club Olympiacos and the Paraguay national team.

Known for his powerful left-foot shot and free-kick skills,[1][2] he first gained attention whilst playing for Newell's Old Boys, which led to a move to Benfica in 2007. He scored nearly 200 official goals for the Portuguese club and won eight major titles, including the 2010 national championship, where he also was the top scorer, and the domestic treble in the 2013–14 season. In 2014, he joined Trabzonspor in Turkey.

Nicknamed "Takuára" (Big cane in Guarani), Cardozo gained more than 45 caps for Paraguay, representing the nation at the 2007 Copa América and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In 2006 and 2009, he was named Paraguayan Footballer of the Year.[3]

Early life[edit]

Cardozo is the son of Rosa María, who claimed that "Óscar has been a very good son and has managed to help us and take us away from poverty".[4] His father is Genaro and his parents have five children.[5] Cardozo's family had pigs, horses, they planted tobacco and fixed electrical posts on the road in an attempt to make a living. His family lived in a poor area and had no car.[6] Cardozo's father gave him permission to try his luck in football because the sale of pigs and tobacco was not making enough money to survive on.[7] Cardozo's mother stated that their family no funds to buy football boots or get a ball for their son, that he would play in the fields with a ball which his friends brought over and that he had to go to training on a horse.[8] It was not until his switch from Newell's Old Boys to Benfica in Portugal that let him lift his family out of poverty. His mother claimed, "He started saving money to buy a house for the entire family — but never told me what he was doing. One day he just arrived and told me he was going to show me our new house. I was speechless. I cuddled him and I burst into tears. Oscar bought a normal four-bedroom house — but the difference is that this house has a football pitch. He has a big heart. He has given us everything we needed."[9]

Club career[edit]

3 de Febrero[edit]

2003 season[edit]

Cardozo commenced his professional career with modest Club Atlético 3 de Febrero of Ciudad del Este, participating in the División Intermedia championship in 2003 and forming a partner ship with striker Roberto Gamarra.[10] In Round 1 of the 2003 season, Cardozo scored in a 1–1 home draw against Cerro Corá.[11] In the following fixture, he scored in a 2–0 home victory against Sportivo Iteño on 11 May.[11] Two weeks later, he netted in a 3–0 home victory against River Plate Asunción on 25 May.[11] Cardozo would not score again until Round 11, where the player scored the only goal in a 1–0 away victory for 3 de Febrero against Cerro Porteño de Presidente Franco on 13 July.[11] The following week, Cardozo would again score against Cerro Corá in a 1–1 away draw on 27 July.[11]

On 10 August, Cardozo scored his first double in a 2–0 home victory against Nacional Asunción.[11] On 7 May, Cardozo would score the only goal for 3 de Febrero as they were defeated 3–1 away against River Plate Asunción on 16 August.[11] In the following fixture, Cardozo would again score, this time in a 1–1 home draw against Presidente Hayes on 23 August.[11] On 30 August, Cardozo scored in a 5–1 away thrashing against Colegiales, which totaled to five consecutive goals in four matches.[11] Cardozo's last league goal would come in Round 21, when the player netted in a 2–1 away victory against Deportivo Recoleta on 27 September.[11] 3 de Febrero had finished in 2nd place of the División Intermedia table and were drawn into promotion play-off fixtures.[11] On 12 October, Cardozo scored in 3 de Febrero's 4–2 victory against River Plate Asunción and one week later would score against Cerro Corá in his side's 2–0 victory on 19 October.[11] Cardozo again scored in the following play-off fixture, a 3–2 victory against General Caballero Zeballos Cué on 25 October.[11] Having won three qualifying promotion play-off fixtures successfully, 3 de Febrero ultimately faced Club Tacuary in a promotion-relegation play-off, which saw the latter win 4–2 on aggregate.[11]

2004 season[edit]

Cardozo scored his first goal of the 2004 División Intermedia season in a 1–0 away victory against Cerro Corá in Round 6 on 2 May, with 3 de Febrero continuing an undefeated run.[12] One week later, Cardozo scored a double against Sportivo San Lorenzo in a 2–0 home victory on 7 May.[12] In the following round, 3 de Febrero suffered their first defeat of the season after 8 eight rounds in a 1–0 away defeat against General Caballero, however, consistent results continued as Cardozo scored in a 1–1 draw in the Superclásico of Alto Paraná against Cerro Porteño PF one week later on 23 May.[13][12] Cardozo scored his 5th league goal of the season in a 2–1 home victory against Cerro Corá in Round 15 on 9 July.[12] 3 de Febrero had been on a 9-game undefeated streak, which ultimately lasted until Round 18, the last match of the season against Cerro Porteño PF which they narrowly lost 4–3 on 31 July. The match saw Cardozo score his 6th league goal of the season and his final goal as a 3 de Febrero player.[12] Cardozo then joined Nacional Asunción during the 2004 season. Before signing with Nacional Asunción, Cardozo had played in 12 out of 3 de Febrero's 18 league matches, scoring 6 goals, which ultimately saw the club finish in first position of the División Intermedia, with 34 points and having lost just two league matches, and gain promotion to the 2005 Paraguayan Primera División season.[12] Cardozo went on to participate in the second half of the 2004 season for Club Nacional Asunción, participating in the Torneo Clasura.

Nacional Asunción[edit]

In 2004, he moved to the top level with Asunción's Club Nacional, where he quickly established himself as the team's top scorer, scoring 17 overall goals in his last season.

Newell's Old Boys[edit]

Cardozo arrived at Argentina and Newell's Old Boys in the second half of the 2006–07 season for a transfer fee of $1.2 million, joining compatriots Diego Gavilán, Santiago Salcedo and Justo Villar. He netted 11 goals in only 16 games in the Apertura, but his team could only finish 18th in the tournament, and 13th overall. As a result of his performances, he was voted the 2006 Paraguayan Footballer of the Year.


Cardozo (left) celebrating with Benfica in 2011

On 21 June 2007, Cardozo officially signed for Portuguese club Benfica, after being bought for an approximate €9.1 million for 80% of his playing rights[14][15]– this made him the second most expensive signing in the club's history, only surpassed by Simão for whom the club paid €13 million in 2001. Cardozo finished his first season with 22 official goals, but the Eagles came out empty in silverware. On 22 February 2008, he scored a last-minute goal against 1. FC Nürnberg for the campaign's UEFA Cup (2–2 away draw, 3–2 aggregate win), thereby keeping his promise of surpassing the 20-goal mark.[16]

In 2008–09 Cardozo scored 17 goals, all in the league, including the equalizer against Porto on 30 August 2008. He finished second in the Bola de Prata race, losing only to Liédson of Sporting CP. In April 2008, Benfica bought out the remaining 20% of his rights for a further €2.5 million, thus investing €11.6 million total in his economic rights.[17]

Cardozo playing against Zenit in 2012

Cardozo had a very positive 2009–10 pre-season, netting eight times in ten matches. On 31 August 2009, in the third league game, he scored a hat-trick in an 8–1 home demolition of Vitória de Setúbal.[18] On 22 October, in the Europa League group stage match against Everton, Tacuara netted twice in two minutes in an eventual 5–0 thrashing at the Estádio da Luz,[19][20] and added a further three in the league against Nacional (6–1, at home), and with Académica de Coimbra (4–0, home).

In the Europa League quarter-finals against Liverpool, Cardozo scored two penalties for a 2–1 home win.[21] He also found the net in the second leg at Anfield with a free kick, but in a 1–4 loss and subsequent elimination;[22] as Benfica won the national championship, adding the year's domestic League Cup, he finished with a career-high 38 goals in 47 matches (26 in the domestic league, leading Porto's Radamel Falcao by only one), partnering well with Argentine Javier Saviola. On 10 February 2010, Benfica sold 20% of his economic rights to Benfica Stars Fund for €4 million, valuing him at €20 million.[23]

At the end of the 2011–12 campaign Cardozo was crowned the Primeira Liga's top scorer for the second time, with 20 goals – joint with Braga's Lima[24] – as Benfica finished in second position. On 10 December 2012, he scored three in a 3–1 derby win at Sporting (even though one of the goals was initially attributed to Marcos Rojo as an own goal),[25] repeating the feat the following week at home against Marítimo (4–1), which resulted in him surpassing the 100-goal mark in domestic league play.[26]

On 2 January 2013, Cardozo took his season tally to 21 goals in 19 official games after netting three in a 6–0 home routing of Desportivo das Aves for the campaign's Taça de Portugal.[27] On 2 May, he scored his fifth and sixth in eight contests in the season's Europa League, being crucial to a 3–1 home win against Fenerbahçe in the semi-finals second leg with the subsequent 3–2 aggregate qualification to the final in Amsterdam.[28] In the decisive match, he netted from the penalty spot in the 68th minute for the 1–1 equalizer against Chelsea, who eventually won it 2–1.[29]

Cardozo was replaced after 70 minutes in the domestic cup final on 26 May 2013, with Benfica leading 1–0 but eventually losing 1–2 to Vitória de Guimarães.[30] At the end of the game, he angrily confronted manager Jorge Jesus, inclusively pushing him; he later apologised for his actions, being fined for half of his monthly salary.[31][32]

Cardozo's boots (left) at the Museu Benfica

Cardozo started the new season after his teammates due to the controversy, but soon returned to his scoring ways. His goals against Guimarães,[33] Estoril [34][35] and Nacional[36][37] were vital in keeping Benfica in the race for the title. On 9 November 2013, he put three past Sporting in a 4–3 home win for the domestic cup's fourth round, increasing to 13 the goals he scored against Sporting, surpassing Manuel Fernandes.[38][39] In November 2013, a injury ruled him out for two-and-a-half months.[40] When he returned, he found himself relegated to the bench, with the team now fully adapted to play with Lima and Rodrigo.[41]

On 14 May 2014, Cardozo missed a penalty shootout against Sevilla in an eventual Europa League final loss on penalties.[42] He still finished the campaign with 11 goals all competitions comprised, including seven in the domestic league which was won for the 33rd time.

In early August 2014, Trabzonspor announced it was in negotiations with Benfica and Cardozo.[43] On 4 August 2014, Cardozo left Benfica and thanked the club, stating, "You always be in my heart."[44]

Cardozo played for the Eagles since 2007 and, together with Maxi Pereira and Luisão, was one of the team captains. He is Benfica's ninth all-time goalscorer, second in European competitions, and the highest-scoring foreigner at the club, with 172 goals.


2014–15 season[edit]

Cardozo with Trabzonspor in 2014
Cardozo playing against Galatasaray in 2014

On 4 August 2014, Cardozo moved Turkish Süper Lig side Trabzonspor for a €5 million fee, (Benfica received €4 million, the fund €1 million) with a further €1.65 million contingent on performance-related bonuses.[45] He signed a contract with €2.5 million per season plus bonuses.[46] On 21 August, he scored his first goal for the club, in a 2–0 home win against Russian side Rostov for the campaign's UEFA Europa League. Cardozo made his league debut in a 1–1 away draw against İstanbul Başakşehir on 22 September. He was substituted onto the field in the 52nd minute for Fatih Atik, and scored a 93rd-minute penalty which sealed the draw for Trabzonspor.[47]

On 26 October, Cardozo was substituted onto the field in the 71st minute for Mustapha Yatabaré in a league fixture against Gaziantepspor, with Trabzonspor trailing 4–3. Cardozo netted the equaliser for Trabzonspor in the 90th minute with the match ending in a 4–4 draw.[48] The goal was Cardozo's third league goal for Trabzonspor. He scored his first double for Trabzonspor in a 3–2 home victory against Konyaspor on 9 November. He had scored an 18th-minute penalty to level the match at 1–1 and scored a 77th minute winning goal to give Trabzonspor a 3–2 victory.[49]

On 1 December, Cardozo scored his first hat-trick in a 4–1 home victory against Gençlerbirliği. He scored in the 8th, 40th and 65th minutes of the match before being substituted off of the field for Fatih Atik in the 70th minute. Cardozo brought his goal scoring tally to eight goals in nine league appearances.[50] During a group stage match of the 2014–15 Turkish Cup, Cardozo scored a double in Trabzonspor's 9–0 home victory against Manisaspor on 25 December.[51] Cardozo would not score until two weeks later in a league match against Balıkesirspor, where he was substituted onto the field in the 31st minute for Musa Nizam and scored in the 94th minute to level the match at 2–2, as Trabzonspor had been trailing 2–0.[52]

Cardozo playing against Metalist Kharkiv

In Cardozo's next league match for Trabzonspor, he scored a double in a 3–1 home victory against Sivasspor on 23 January. His first goal had been a 20th-minute penalty to give Trabzonspor a 1–0 lead, and his second goal was in the 83rd minute which made the scoreline 3–1.[53] He had reached 11 league goals and was the leading goal scorer of the Süper Lig. One week later, he scored in a 2–1 home victory against Kayseri Erciyesspor on 30 January.[54] His goal took his tally to 12 league goals and Cardozo remained on top of the leading goal scorer table.

Cardozo's last league goals of the season came in a 3–2 home victory against Balıkesirspor on 23 May 2015.[55] He had scored in the 50th minute to give his side a 2–1 league and again scored in the 85th minute to put Trabzonspor 3–2 ahead.[56] Cardozo rounded off the season scoring 17 league goals in 29 appearances as Trabzonspor finished in fifth place of the league table. Trabzonspor finished one place above Bursaspor, both on 57 points, however Trabzonspor were officially ruled ahead on head-to-head record and thus qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. As an individual distinction, Cardozo finished in third place of the Süper Lig top goalscorers list, behind Demba Ba (18 goals) and Fernandão (22 goals).

After the 2014–15 season, it was announced that Cardozo would not play in the 2015 Copa América for Paraguay due to a back injury, whereupon it was then revealed by his agent that he had been playing through the pain for his club side.[57]

2015–16 season[edit]

Cardozo's first appearance for Trabzonspor in the 2015–16 season came in the 2015–16 Europa League second qualifying round against Macedonian club Rabotnički. He featured in both home and away play-off matches as Trabzonspor were eliminated 2–1 on aggregate.[58][59]

Cardozo's first goal for the 2015–16 Süper Lig season came in a 2–2 home draw against Akhisar Belediyespor on 30 August 2015. He had been substituted onto the field in the 71st minute for Okay Yokuşlu and scored Trabzonspor's second goal in the 85th minute to level the game.[60]

One week later, Cardozo scored again for Trabzonspor in a 1–0 away victory against Kayserispor on 14 September 2015. He had again been substituted onto the field in the 65th minute, for Yusuf Erdogan, and scored the winning goal of the match in the 86th minute.[61]


On 31 August 2016, Cardozo joined Greek champions Olympiacos.[62]

International career[edit]

On 7 October 2006, Cardozo made his international debut for Paraguay in an exhibition game with Australia,[63] and he scored his first goal on 5 June of the following year in another friendly, against Mexico.[64] He was selected for the squad that appeared in that year's Copa América: the tournament in Venezuela ended in the quarter-finals and the player netted once, in a 3–1 group stage win against the United States.

Cardozo scored two goals in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification stages, as Paraguay qualified for the finals in South Africa. On 29 June 2010, he netted the winning penalty in the shootout against Japan (5–3 victory), as La Albirroja qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time ever.[65] In the following game, however, with the score at 0–0, he missed a 59th-minute penalty against Spain in a 0–1 defeat against the eventual champions.[66]

Cardozo was overlooked by coach Gerardo Martino for the 2011 Copa América squad, despite scoring 23 official goals for Benfica in 2010–11.

Having already been included by Ramón Díaz in the Albirroja preliminary squad, Cardozo would again miss out on the Copa América for 2015 due to a back injury.[67]

International goals[edit]

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 2010 World Cup qualification
4 10 October 2009 Polideportivo Cachamay, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela  Venezuela 0–2 1–2 2010 World Cup qualification
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
9 15 August 2012 RFK Stadium, Washington DC, United States  Guatemala 0–1 3–3 Friendly

Personal life[edit]

In spite of the same surname, a similar nickname and physical resemblance, he is not related to Ramón Cardozo (known as "Tacuarita"), who is also a footballer and a forward.[68] He obtained Portuguese citizenship in November 2014.[69]



As of 19 September 2016[70][71]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
3 de Febrero 2003 22 14 22 14
2004 12 6 12 6
Total 34 20 34 20
Nacional Asunción 2004 14 3 14 3
2005 29 9 29 9
2006 20 10 0 0 20 10
Total 63 22 0 0 63 22
Newell's Old Boys 2006–07 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 6* 5 2 1 12 5 42 23
2011–12 29 20 0 0 4 3 12 5 45 28
2012–13 25 17 5 6 2 1 14 9 46 33
2013–14 15 7 5 3 1 0 11 1 32 11
Total 175 112 23 19 18 7 76 34 292 172
2014–15 29 17 3 2 10 1 42 20
2015–16 21 8 1 0 2 0 24 8
Total 50 25 4 2 12 1 66 28
Olympiacos 2016–17 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 0
Career total 357 200 27 21 18 7 89 35 491 263


Year Apps Goals
2006 2 0
2007 10 2
2008 10 1
2009 7 1
2010 6 0
2011 7 4
2012 3 1
2013 4 0
2014 0 0
2015 0 0
Total 49 9



3 de Febrero



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