Manchester United star Edinson Cavani believes Marcus Rashford ‘showed his character to the world’ when he scored a winning penalty against PSG in March 2019. The Uruguay international featured in that match for the Ligue 1 giants. But they were dumped out of the Champions League on a memorable night for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
United met Cavani’s PSG nearly two years ago in the Champions League.
They were played off the pitch by the Ligue 1 giants at Old Trafford, with Kylian Mbappe and Presnel Kimpembe scoring in a comfortable 2-0 win.
Few gave United a chance of coming back but, on a sensational evening under the lights at the Parc des Princes, they did just that.
Romelu Lukaku gave Solskjaer’s side the dream start, with the Belgian’s goal then chalked off by Juan Bernat.
However, United regained the lead through Lukaku and, late on, Rashford scored a penalty to send the Red Devils through to the quarter-finals.
And Cavani has now opened up to United’s official website about that evening, saying Rashford showcased his talents to the world with nerves of steel.
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“I vividly remember watching from the sidelines as Marcus Rashford prepared to take his penalty against Paris Saint-Germain in the Parc des Princes,” he said.
“I was on the bench for PSG that night and everybody was just holding their breath while this young guy grabbed the ball and put it on the penalty spot.
“If it was his job to take them or whether he just picked up the ball and said: ‘I’m taking it,’ ahead of someone else, I couldn’t tell you, as that was part of what goes on internally here.
“What I do know is that to take a penalty at a moment like that is a real show of bravery and commitment to the cause, which in this case was the team and taking United forward and into the next round.
“Marcus scored and showed his character to the world.
“Those are the kind of moments, particularly as a young player, that you have to use in the future to become stronger and to grow as a player.
“There’s nothing better than when you can feel the competitive spirit inside you, the desire to perform at your best, and I believe that those big moments, those special occasions, are the ones that leave their mark on you and enable you to grow. It’s a demonstration of character.
“Character is huge in life and in football.
“When I think back to my own youth, I think that one of the things that I did have in my favour was that real passion for running, for working hard and that desire to give absolutely everything.”
Cavani also opened up on his time at United, insisting he’s there to help and feels the club can win silverware this term.
“I’m here to do my absolute best and to accompany and support this team,” said the 33-year-old.
“I’m here to leave everything I have out on the field – not just in a game, but in training too.
“Then, if a young player comes up and asks me something, or a youngster sees things during a training session that they’d like to incorporate into their game, I’m always here to help.
“I believe that you can always learn stuff, and from a variety of footballers. It doesn’t just have to be from another striker.
“You can learn about the mindset of players in different positions too. It could be from a goalkeeper or a coach.
“You can always take the best bits from someone and see if they really work for you. I’ll never impose advice on people and tell them: ‘You’ve got to be doing this, and you should be doing that…’ Of course not.
“I’ll be there to offer support and I’ll do my best with it. If they want to take it on board and take it as an example, I’d be happy.
“I know that I’m one of the older players and some of these guys are much nearer the start of their careers, and I’d be happy to leave them with something where one day they might say ‘Edi was like that, and he did this, and I liked it and I tried to copy one or two things.
“That would be great. Leaving something positive behind is always important.
“I’m not looking too far forward, though, because I want to win things together with these lads while I’m still playing.
“These lads are already great footballers, now we all want to have success together. There are other very good players at the club with a lot of experience too, guys who have won titles and have experienced big moments like that.
“They have benefited from sharing dressing rooms with great footballers and with great squads and teams, so there is a lot of knowledge that has built up among these players.
“I believe that this group knows perfectly well what winning titles is all about.”