Matador Cavani taking Napoli by horns

MILAN - In-form Napoli striker Edinson Cavani, nicknamed "the Matador" for his commanding presence, has fans dreaming that a new South American hero can inspire them to Serie A glory.

Just over 20 years since Argentina's Diego Maradona led the Naples side to their last scudetto, Cavani has inconsistent Fiorentina in his sights for Saturday's home game.

The Uruguayan hit a hat-trick in last Sunday's 3-0 win over Juventus to move them up to second and the San Paolo has rarely seen such scenes of jubilation since their title days.

"I wouldn't sell him for 50 million euros," said Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, whose side trail leaders AC Milan by four points at the midway point of the season.

The magic of the night has been perpetuated by a bizarre debate about Cavani's third goal.

On first viewing it looked like he had scored with a diving header but You Tube clips suggest it may have come off his neck, back or even his heel for a stunning scorpion-like strike.

Such brilliance has put him top of the Serie A scoring charts with 13 goals alongside Udinese's Antonio Di Natale.

Pundits thought Napoli were taking a risk when signing him from Palermo in July after he was the least effective of Uruguay's front three in their run to fourth in the World Cup.

But while Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez were making headlines, a previously goalshy Cavani was honing his game and he now looks electric with Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik playing just behind him in Walter Mazzarri's side.

Napoli had a hiccup when losing at Inter in Leonardo's first game in charge two weeks ago but talk of the scudetto is not so far fetched given Milan are not totally convincing, Inter are adrift if improving and Lazio and Juve are starting to slip up.

Milan follow Sunday's 4-4 draw with Udinese with a trip to Lecce on Sunday with new signing Antonio Cassano probably not quite match fit enough to start despite his fine form.

Juve, who look to have missed out on Fiorentina's Alberto Gilardino for now, host lowly Bari after two straight league defeats while Inter entertain Bologna on Saturday.


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