Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

One to watch: Jhonder Cadiz

Publish on 13/11/2019 at 13:30


Dijon sent shockwaves through the French football world when they beat PSG in Week 12. But who was the young man who dazzled the capital cub defence before slotting home the winner from an improbable angle? Read on...

When bottom-placed Dijon played host to runaway league leaders Paris Saint-Germain in Week 12, few expected anything but a routine domination by Thomas Tuchel's men - leader vs bottom, last season's champions vs the team who scraped through the play-offs to avoid relegation.

Things went according to the script as Kylian Mbappé opened the scoring from an Angel Di Maria assist and then things took a turn for the worse for Dijon as defenders Senou Coulibaly and Fouad Chafik both went off injured. However, after Mounir Chouiar pulled one back to level matters, Jhonder Cadiz stepped into the limelight with a simply stunning run that beat half the Parisian side before he trumped Keylor Navas with a tightly angled shot.

Cue hysteria and shock as Dijon scored a win for the ages, but as the dust settled, everyone began to wonder... who was that audacious young man and where has he been hiding? To find out, read on...

Back story: 

Born in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on 29 July, 1995, Cadiz cut his teeth at local side Deportivo Petare before his strong performances earned him a move to the country's most successful club, Caracas FC. Working his way from the reserves into the first team, he began to catch the eye of European clubs, with Portuguese outfit União da Madeira taking him across the Atlantic on loan in season 2015-16.

Although Madeira didn't exercise the option to buy that was included in the loan deal - due to their relegation that season - Cadiz took to life in Portugal and, following stints with Clube Desportivo Nacional (2016-17), Moreirense (2017-18) and Vitoria Setubal (2018-19), he was signed by Lisbon giants Benfica on a five-year deal.

Immediately loaned out to Dijon, the 24-year-old, who is a twice-capped Venezuelan international, struck out for his first season in French football. Although he hadn't started a match before Paris Saint-Germain came calling, coach Stéphane Jobard may well take a different view of his striker following that historic strike.

Style of play: 

At 1.91m, Cadiz is no shrinking violet in the physique department, but nor is he a traditional target man. With lightning-fast feet and a blistering turn of pace - not unlike a certain Kylian Mbappé - Cadiz also has a fierce shot with preferred right foot and can score with his left as well. An assured penalty taker, he is also adept in the air, with his long frame making him a tough match-up for many defenders in this area.

Current campaign: 

Cadiz has taken a bit of time to adapt to French football and carve out a place in Jobard's team. With a hamstring strain keeping him out for two weeks in September, he has made four league appearances (one start) for 162 minutes of football so far this season - the striker's game time has been on the increase and his fearless turn against will certainly hold him in good stead. If he does follow through on the promise shown, Dijon have an option to but him from Benfica once his loan deal expires at the end of the 2019-20 season.

What you didn't know: 

Cadiz's current Dijon teammate Mama Baldé, a Guinea-Bissua international midfielder, attended the youth academy of Benfica's arch-rivals Sporting Lisbon.

Best goal: 

Although Cadiz has scored plenty of goals that saw him use a burst of pace to beat a defender and the shoot from close range, his strike against PSG was a cut above. After beating none other than Brazil stopper Marquinhos not once but twice - along with Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes - he then concluded his tour of South America by trumping Costa Rica's number one Keylor Navas with a powerful nutmeg.

What he said: 

"When I signed, I knew I had time during the pre-season to show that I was up for it. But I got injured and I couldn't do the pre-season and that really affected me. Now, I don't know whether or not they wanted to send me out on loan when I signed. What I knew was that I had the pre-season to show that I had the level to be at Benfica - I knew I had it and so did everyone else. But the injury affected me a lot. It's normal, it's football stuff. It wasn't the time to put on the Benfica jersey and now it's up to me to work for Dijon. I chose Dijon because I think French football is good for me."

- On his never having turned out for Benfica before being loaned to Dijon 

What they said: 

"We should sign him later today. He's a player we've been trying to sign for two months, so we're very happy to welcome him. We're waiting for the medical exams to sign all the documents with Benfica."

- Dijon FCO president Olivier Delcourt on nabbing the Venezuelan

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