Wednesday 17 July 2019

The lowdown on Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentina striker set to lift the Blues

The 31-year-old excelled under Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri when they were both at Napoli.

Gonzalo Higuain has joined Chelsea (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Gonzalo Higuain has joined Chelsea (Andrew Matthews/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Gonzalo Higuain has joined Chelsea on loan from Juventus for the rest of the season.

The 31-year-old excelled under Blues boss Maurizio Sarri when they were both at Napoli.

Here, Press Association Sport brings you the lowdown on the Argentina striker.

Family man

His father Jorge was a professional footballer, before becoming a lawyer. “From my father, who was a lawyer, I inherited mental strength, malice and the way to annoy defenders, but that’s a secret,” Higuain told La Stampa in February 2017. Another thing Higuain inherited from his father is his nickname ‘El Pipita’, which is linked to his father’s Pipa moniker, something to do with having a big nose. He has two brothers. His elder brother Federico has been a professional player for Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew since 2012.

French connection

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Gonzalo Higuain has 31 goals in 75 appearances for Argentina (Martin Rickett/PA)

Higuain was born in France, on December 10, 1987, while his father Jorge was playing for Brest in Brittany. He was just 10 months old when the family moved to Argentina, but received French citizenship in January 2007. He turned down a call up from Raymond Domenech’s Les Bleus in November 2006, when he was 18. “It’s a choice from my heart,” he told L’Equipe. He has 31 goals in 75 Argentina appearances, since making his debut in October 2009.

Admiration for Ronaldo

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Gonzalo Higuain is an admirer of Brazil’s Ronaldo (Nick Potts/PA)

Not Cristiano, no. “Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, was the best at everything,” Higuain told La Stampa two years ago. “He is the only player who I have watched on video and tried to imitate, but it’s very hard.” Higuain followed Ronaldo’s footsteps to the Bernabeu, signing from River Plate in December 2006. Cristiano Ronaldo followed in June 2009, but Higuain’s move to Napoli in July 2013 – after 107 goals in 190 league games for Real – was reportedly at the behest of the Portuguese.

A Sicilian flavour

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Gonzalo Higuain thrived at Napoli, scoring 36 goals in his only campaign under Maurizio Sarri (PA)

When Rafael Benitez left his successful spell as interim Chelsea boss, he joined Napoli for the 2013-14 season. Higuain was his star striker, scoring 17 league goals. There were 18 more the following season, before Maurizio Sarri was appointed. Higuain broke the single-season Serie A record for goals scored in 2015-16, netting 36 in 35 games in his only campaign under Sarri, now the Chelsea head coach. Another former Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, is now Napoli boss. He expressed regret at selling Higuain when he was Real Madrid manager.

Old Lady luck

Juventus activated a release clause in Higuain’s contract to sign him for 90million euros in July 2016 and he scored 55 goals in 105 games for the Old Lady. When Cristiano Ronaldo swapped Madrid for Turin, Higuain was the one to depart, on loan to AC Milan. Higuain has scored eight goals in 20 appearances for AC Milan this season – Alvaro Morata has nine Chelsea goals this term – but just one goal in his last 12 appearances.

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