Higuain hits back at his ‘fat’ crit­ics in style

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Gon­zalo Higuain hit back at his ‘fat’ crit­ics in style, racism isn’t a prob­lem for Roma and Palermo are still stuck in the mire. Nikola Kalinic fi­nally found his scor­ing boots in Florence but grumpy Brazil­ian sen­sa­tion Gabiol can’t even get a game at In­ter.

HIGUAIN AN­SWERS FAT APP CRIT­ICS FOR JUVE

Gon­zalo Higuain has been crit­i­cised through­out his ca­reer for miss­ing goal chances and fail­ing to keep his weight down. It reached a peak ear­lier this year when di­grun­tled Ar­gentina fans cre­ated a smart phone app mock­ing his ap­pear­ance, and his ten­dency to fluff the odd shot. But Higuain is a hard man to keep down. De­spite a lat­est wave of crit­i­cism due to a bar­ren spell at Ju­ven­tus, the Ar­gentina striker was on fire for the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons twice when it mat­tered most in the past week. ‘Pipita’ hit a 52nd minute opener in a 2-0 Cham­pi­ons League win over Di­namo Zagreb that se­cured top spot in Group H. In a Turin derby that may well have gone in Torino’s favour, Higuain re­sponded to An­drea Belotti’s 16th minute opener with a lev­eller be­fore the half-hour, and had his third goal in a week when he hit the win­ner eight min­utes from time.

STROOTMAN, AND ROMA LAUGH OFF LULIC RACE ROW

A week af­ter Roma de­fender An­to­nio Rudi­ger was the sub­ject of racist com­ments by Lazio mid­fielder Se­nad Lulic fol­low­ing a bit­terly-con­tested derby, the Gial­lorossi are laugh­ing the in­ci­dent off. Lulic was con­demned in some quar­ters for telling a tele­vi­sion re­porter that Rudi­ger, “two years ago, was sell­ing socks and belts in Stuttgart and now he thinks he’s a phe­nom­e­non.” Rudi­ger, who is black, is a Ger­many in­ter­na­tional and Dutch team­mate Kevin Strootman was the lat­est mem­ber of the Roma fam­ily to re­spond to Lulic’s com­ments with irony. “An­to­nio wasn’t sad, just sur­prised,” Strootman told the Gazzetta dello Sport. “If Lulic thinks like this, I feel sorry for him. If Rudi­ger re­ally was sell­ing socks and belts two years ago and now he’s play­ing like this for Roma, win­ning the derby, all I can is he must be a a good worker.” Roma won last week’s derby 2-0 and beat AC Milan 1-0 on Mon­day to close to within four points of lead­ers Ju­ven­tus.

NEW COACH, SAME PALERMO

Eu­ge­nio Corini is Palermo’s third coach this sea­son but af­ter two losses in two games he would be for­given for reading the small­print on his six-month con­tract. Club pres­i­dent Mau­r­izio Zam­par­ini brought the 46-year-old Ital­ian on board hop­ing he can stave off rel­e­ga­tion for a sec­ond time since the 75-year-old re­tail ty­coon took over the club in 2002. But Corini is al­ready head­ing in the same di­rec­tion as pre­de­ces­sors Roberto De Zerbi and Da­vide Bal­lar­dini, the lat­ter last­ing only two weeks into the cam­paign. Un­der De Zerbi, sacked for an em­bar­rass­ing exit to sec­ond di­vi­sion La Spezia in the Ital­ian Cup, Palermo sunk to a new club record low of seven con­sec­u­tive de­feats. Corini has stretched it to nine af­ter Palermo fol­lowed an un­lucky, last­gasp de­feat to Fiorentina with a 2-0 home re­verse to his for­mer club, Chievo.

KALINIC COMES HOME AT LAST

Nikola Kalinic wowed Fiorentina’s fan last sea­son with 12 league goals, in­clud­ing a stun­ning hat-trick in a mem­o­rable 4-1 win at In­ter Milan that stunned the San Siro. This sea­son, the Croa­tia in­ter­na­tional has stood out for scor­ing all his goals away from home-un­til Mon­day, when he re­dressed the bal­ance in style thanks to a stun­ning first-half brace in a 2-1 win over Sas­suolo that moved Fiorentina up to sev­enth place. Kalinic, who failed to make an im­pact at Black­burn Rovers when he moved to the Pre­mier League club in 2009, moved to Fiorentina in 2015 af­ter help­ing Ukrainian giants Dnipro to the 2015 Europa League fi­nal. The 28-year-old Croa­tia in­ter­na­tional had hit all six of his goals pre­vi­ous to Mon­day’s brace away from the Artemio Franchi sta­dium.

GABIGOL SET FOR QUICK RE­TURN TO BRAZIL?

Bought for 29m eu­ros from FC San­tos, Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Bar­bosa was hailed as the next big thing when he ar­rived at In­ter Milan from the for­mer club of Barcelona star Ney­mar Jr. in the sum­mer. But the love af­fair is al­ready over, ac­cord­ing to his agent Wag­ner Ribeiro. Gabigol has played 16 min­utes, against Bologna, for the Ner­az­zurri as they look to over­come a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son that has left them in sev­enth at 15 points off the lead of Ju­ven­tus. Gabigol is not a happy man and has spo­ken of a pos­si­ble re­turn to Brazil, ac­cord­ing to re­ports. “He’s not play­ing, he’s played 16 min­utes in three months,” said Ribeiro. “I will speak with In­ter face to face at the start of the year, they paid 30m and now they treat him like this.” — AFP

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