Óscar Cardozo

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

Cardozo with Trabzonspor in 2014
Personal information
Full name Óscar René Cardozo Marín
Date of birth (1983-05-20) 20 May 1983
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 4 (0)
National team
2006– Paraguay 49 (9)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 24 October 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. He then spent two years with Trabzonspor in Turkey before joining Olympics.

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

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

3 de Febrero

2003 season

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

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

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

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.


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 came onto the field in the 52nd minute for Fatih Atik, and scored a 93rd-minute penalty to equalise.[47]

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.[48] 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.[49]

Cardozo rounded off the season scoring 17 league goals in 29 appearances as Trabzonspor finished in fifth place and qualified for the 2015–16 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. He 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.[50]


On 31 August 2016, Cardozo joined Greek champions Olympiacos.[51]

International career

On 7 October 2006, Cardozo made his international debut for Paraguay in an exhibition game with Australia,[52] and he scored his first goal on 5 June of the following year in another friendly, against Mexico.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55]

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.[56]

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 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

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.[57] He obtained Portuguese citizenship in November 2014.[58]

Career statistics


As of match played 6 November 2016[59][60]
Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Total
3 de Febrero 2003 22142214
2004 126126
Total 34203420
Nacional Asunción 2004 143143
2005 299299
2006 2010002010
Total 6322006322
Newell's Old Boys 2006–07 33213321
Benfica 2007–08 291355001144522
2008–09 26172040303517
2009–10 2926005213104738
2010–11 22126*5211254223
2011–12 292000431254528
2012–13 251756211494633
2013–14 15753101113211
Total 17511223191877634292172
2014–15 2917321014220
2015–16 2181020248
Total 5025421216628
Olympiacos 2016–17 501040100
Career total 36020028211879235498263






3 de Febrero



  1. "Hélder Postiga, Oscar Cardozo e Rui Patrício: O estigma do Patinho Feio" [Hélder Postiga, Oscar Cardozo and Rui Patrício: The Ugly Duckling stigma] (in Portuguese). Futebol 365. 8 June 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  2. "Cardozo treinava livres e à noite ia para a escola" [Cardozo practiced free kicks and went to school at night] (in Portuguese). Record. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
  3. http://www.abc.com.py/deportes/tacuara-cardozo-es-el-mejor-futbolista-paraguayo-del-2006-954056.html
  4. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  5. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  6. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  7. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  8. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  9. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/4543656/Oscar-has-a-wealth-of-experience.html
  10. http://www.abc.com.py/deportes/3-de-febrero-se-adjudica-cupo-para-partidos-de-la-promocion-727729.html
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "Paraguay 2003". RSSSF. 5 October 2004. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Paraguay 2004". RSSSF. 18 March 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  13. http://www.abc.com.py/abc-radio/empate-agonico-del-3-en-el-clasico-764560.html
  14. "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF) (in Portuguese). CMVM. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  15. Paraguayan striker Cardozo joins Benfica; ESPN Soccernet, 21 June 2007
  16. Oscar "Tacuara" Cardozo cumplió con su promesa de llegar a los veinte goles (Oscar "Tacuara" Cardozo kept promise of reaching twenty goals); Somos Paraguay (Spanish)
  17. "Benfica compra restantes 20% do passe de Cardozo". expresso.sapo.pt. 16 April 2008.
  18. Futebol: Liga (3.ª jornada) – Benfica dá 8–1 ao Setúbal e sobe a segundo (Football: League (3rd round) – Benfica hands Setúbal 8–1 and moves to second); Jornal de Notícias, 31 August 2009 (Portuguese)
  19. Benfica 5–0 Everton; BBC Sport, 22 October 2009
  20. Europa League: Everton humbled, Fulham denied; ESPN Soccernet, 22 October 2009
  21. Ashenden, Mark (1 April 2010). "Benfica 2–1 Liverpool". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  22. Bevan, Chris (8 April 2010). "Liverpool 4–1 Benfica (agg 5–3)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  23. "Benfica encaixa 10 milhões com venda de Cardozo e Coentrão ao fundo". jornaldenegocios.pt. 10 February 2010.
  24. 1 2 "Portugal - List of Topscorers". RSSSF. 25 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  25. "Benfica triumph in the Lisbon derby". PortuGOAL. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
  26. "Benfica hammer ten-man Marítimo to go clear at table top". PortuGOAL. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  27. "Benfica annihilate Aves". PortuGOAL. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  28. "Cardozo double helps Benfica clinch final berth". UEFA.com. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  29. "Ivanović heads Chelsea to Europa League glory". UEFA.com. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  30. "Guimarães claim famous cup win". PortuGOAL. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  31. "Cardozo apologises to Jesus". ESPN FC. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.
  32. "Cardozo foi multado em mais de 65 mil euros" [Cardozo fined more than 65 thousand euros] (in Portuguese). Record. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  33. "Benfica vence jogo de "nervos" em Guimarães" [Benfica wins stressful game]. dn.pt. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  34. "Benfica vence Estoril - Resumo, fotos, relatos, crónica". Serbenfiquista.com. 6 October 2013.
  35. "Contestação no final". Record.pt. 6 October 2013.
  36. "Cardozo iguala Nuno Gomes e marca o seu 100.º golo na Luz". SB.com. 27 October 2013.
  37. "Jorge Jesus - análise Benfica (2 0) Nacional". SB.com. 27 October 2013.
  38. "Luisão's extra time header eliminates Sporting in exhilarating derby". PortuGOAL. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  39. "Golos no dérbi: Cardozo ultrapassa Manuel Fernandes". maisfutebol. 9 November 2013.
  40. "Benfica: Cardozo continua limitado a dois dias de Bruxelas". maisfutebol.iol.pt. 25 November 2013.
  41. "How bruised Benfica found balance and bounced back - and why Spurs should worry". fourfourtwo.com. 13 March 2014.
  42. "Spot-on Sevilla leave Benfica dreams in tatters". UEFA.com. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  43. "Trabzonspor agree €5.6m Cardozo fe". goal.com. 2 August 2014.
  44. "Cardozo: "Agradeço a todos! Vão ficar sempre no meu coração"" [Cardozo:"I thank all! You will always be in my heart".]. slbenfica.pt. 4 August 2014.
  45. "Comunicado" [Announcement] (PDF). CMVM. SL Benfica. 4 August 2014.
  46. "Oscar Cardozo İle Anlaşma Bildirimi" (in Turkish). KAP. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  47. "İstanbul Başakşehir vs. Trabzonspor - 22 September 2014 - Soccerway". soccerway.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  48. "Trabzonspor vs. Gençlerbirliği - 1 December 2014 - Soccerway". soccerway.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  49. "Trabzonspor vs. Manisaspor - 25 December 2014 - Soccerway". soccerway.com. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  50. http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/587/copa-america/2015/05/28/12185062/injured-cardozo-out-of-paraguay-squad
  51. "Το who is who του Όσκαρ Καρντόσο". Olympiacos F.C. 31 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  52. Australia – Paraguay 1:1; Footballdatabase, 7 October 2006
  53. Mexico – Paraguay 0:1; Footballdatabase, 5 June 2007
  54. Fletcher, Paul (29 June 2010). "Paraguay 0–0 Japan (5–3 pens)". BBC Sport. Retrieved 29 June 2010.
  55. Fletcher, Paul (3 July 2010). "Paraguay 0–1 Spain". BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  56. http://www.goal.com/en-us/news/587/copa-america/2015/05/28/12185062/injured-cardozo-out-of-paraguay-squad
  57. "Ramón Cardozo: ¿El hermano perdido?" [Ramón Cardozo: The lost brother?] (in Spanish). Dechalaca. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  58. A Bola, 12 November 2014
  59. Óscar Cardozo profile at Soccerway. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  60. Óscar Cardozo at ESPN FC
  61. Óscar Cardozo at National-Football-Teams.com
  62. "Cardozo eleito o jogador do mês de janeiro" [Cardozo elected best player of January] (in Portuguese). Record. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2015.

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