Turkey’s Trabzonspor lands blockbuster signing Oscar Cardozo
Cardozo faced a warm welcome after he arrived in Trabzon on Aug. 5.Trabzonspor-bound Oscar Cardozo arrived in Turkey late on Aug. 5 ahead of the completion of the biggest transfer deal in the Super League this season.
The Paraguayan forward arrived at Trabzon Airport with more than a thousand fans waiting to welcome him.
Cheering fans carried Cardozo on their shoulders while a group ridiculed their archrival, Fenerbahçe, who failed to sign the player after being linked to him for a number of weeks last year.
“Fenerbahçe announced him, Trabzonspor made him wear the jersey,” a banner read.
Cardozo has arguably become the biggest transfer move in a relatively slow off-season before the Super League commences later this month. Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe have been uncharacteristically quiet this season, while Beşiktaş’s biggest deal was landing Senegalese striker Demba Ba from Chelsea.
Trabzonspor will pay 5 million euros to Benfica for the 31-year-old forward, who has been one of the most prolific forwards in Europe in recent years. Cardozo scored 112 goals in 175 games for Benfica, becoming the club’s highest scoring non-Portuguese player.
The towering 1.93m forward was a part of the Benfica team that won the Portuguese League in 2010 and 2014. He also appeared in two Europa League finals in the last two seasons, when the Portuguese side lost to Chelsea and Sevilla, respectively. He was twice the top scorer in the Portuguese League in 2010 and 2012.
Trabzonspor is also linked with a loan move for Islam Slimani, who has attracted interest from several European clubs after his strong performance in the 2014 World Cup.
Cardozo signing came a week after Trabzonspor coach Vahid Halilhodzic said he needed 10 new signings. Following a disappointing 2-0 defeat to FC Cologne on July 30, the Bosnian coach, who arrived at Trabzonspor last month after leading Algeria to an unprecedented second-round appearance in the World Cup, harshly criticized the club board, saying promises had not been kept.
“I am expecting 10 new signings soon,” he said. “If they are not made urgently, there is no point in me staying here.” Trabzonspor board has taken Halilhodzic’s ultimatum seriously, and started completing new signings one after another.
The Black Sea Storm signed Algerian defender Essaid Belkalem last week. Earlier this week, the club added AC Milan’s Guinean wing-back Kevin Constant and Algerian international defender Carl Medjani from Monaco to its squad. Antalyaspor’s Musa Nizam and Kardemir Karabükspor’s İshak Doğan were the other signings to be completed after Halilhodzic’s statements.
Trabzonspor is bidding to end its long wait for the Super League title, following its last championship in 1984. The Black Sea Storm, which was the runner-up behind Fenerbahçe in the controversial 2010-11 campaign, filed several appeals with the Turkish Football Federation, demanding to be awarded the title due to its rival’s involvement in match-fixing allegations, but was rejected.
The Black Sea Storm finished fourth last season and will play in the Europa League playoff round on Aug. 21 and 28. The draw will be held on Aug. 8.
This year’s Turkish Spor Toto Super League campaign will start on Aug. 29.