Despite having a combined age of 70, the duo linked up superbly on the pitch, with the win slightly easing the pressure on United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The success of the partnership raises questions as to whether it will continue going forward. The two forwards are among the game’s best finishers. They could help United climb up the table.
Cristiano Ronaldo has partnered up with world-class attackers for much of his career, so the deadliness of him and Cavani should come as no surprise.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five legendary veteran strike partnerships:
Alfredo di Stefano & Ferenc Puskas (Real Madrid)
Combined age: 66 (1960)
There are many Real Madrid fans that regard Alfredo Di Stefano as the club’s greatest ever signing. Yes, the totemic forward may even put the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the shade in that regard.
After a transfer controversy between Real and Barcelona that eventually led to the Spaniard spending seven months on the sidelines, Di Stefano eventually arrived at Real in 1953. The vital part he played in the club’s future success – including five consecutive European Cups – changed the scope of the El Clasico rivalry.
In the second half of his spell at the club, he was joined by legendary striker Ferenc Puskas. Together, they were unstoppable. Puskas hit 20 league goals in each of his first five seasons at Real; Di Stefano did it twice.
In the 1960 European Cup final, Puskas struck a record four goals. Di Stefano scored a hat-trick. They were two of the greatest of all time.
The scoring feat was made all the more incredible by the fact that both men were aged 33 at the time.
Andrew Cole & Dwight Yorke (Manchester United)
Combined age: 60 (2001)
Cole and Yorke. Yorke and Cole. Whichever name you start with, these two were a destructive force for Manchester United in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
In Yorke’s first season at the club, he hit a joint season-high of 18 goals, with Cole just behind him on 17.
United won the 1998/99 Champions League, and with it the treble. Yorke netted 29 goals in all competitions; Cole 24. The two strikers worked in tandem to perfection, and the results were legendary.
The goals kept on flowing. In 1999/00, Yorke netted 24 in all competitions, with Cole adding 22. Neither man reached 10 goals in the Premier League the following season, and Cole left the club in 2001, but by then the status of one of the greatest strike pairings of all-time – both of whom were, by this point, at a combined age of 60 – had been achieved.
Tostao & Pele (Brazil)
Combined age: 62 (1970)
When Pele won the 1970 World Cup with Brazil, it was expected to be his last major tournament in international football.
He dazzled the crowds, received the Golden Ball for the best player, and allowed his country to own the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently.
He did so alongside his strike partner Tostao, who, at 33, was also playing in his final World Cup. Regarded as one of the greatest forwards in the world, he contributed two goals in the tournament. He would end his international career having hit 32 goals in 55 games; Pele scored 77 in 92.
Lionel Messi & Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Combined age: 60 (2017)
In 2017 – the year Luis Suarez turned 30 – he had come off the back of a remarkable 59-goal season in all competitions. The following season, he netted 37 in 51 games.
During Ernesto Valverde’s reign as Barca boss between 2017 and 2020, Suarez was partnered with Lionel Messi. The mercurial Messi passed 25 goals in each season. Suarez himself reached the feat once.
The dynamic duo helped Barca to four trophies under Valverde’s reign, and remain close friends to this day.
Samuel Eto’o & Diego Milito (Inter Milan)
Combined age: 60 (2010)
Samuel Eto’o and Diego Milito smashed in 41 goals in all competitions during the 2009/10 season when Inter Milan won the biggest prize in European football. Whilst they didn’t always play as two centre forwards, they were both key parts of a successful side.
Aptly, Milito netted twice in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich to cap off what had been a dream season for him. The prior summer, he had made the move to join Jose Mourinho‘s side from Genoa.
Eto’o, meanwhile, left Barcelona in the summer of 2009 in a swap deal with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Cameroon international was still in his prime as a striker and hit 16 goals in all competitions in his first season. His second – during which he turned 30 – was more profitable. Eto’o struck 37 goals in 53 appearances as Inter began life post-Mourinho with two trophies and a second-place finish in Serie A.
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