artisan worker or the businessman. Yes, I can permit myself luxuries denied to others but that’s the law of life. On the other hand, the majority of people can walk around the streets without everyone looking at them, and they do not have to justify themselves if they don’t want to stop to pose for a selfie.
“Before getting to this point, I had it hard enough. I was only a young boy when I had to leave home, family and friends. I am a normal person who likes doing normal things, something which is not always possible.”
In that same interview, he spoke of his football origins and vision, saying: “As a child, I played a lot in the street, to the
“I started off playing in attack and, given the results, I stayed there”
approval of my [ex-footballer] father. He would tell me: ‘Move this way, move that way, that’s the thing that really gives a defender bother’. I started off playing in attack and given the results, I stayed there.
“Lots of fans think that I am only interested in scoring goals but that’s not true, I really like to lay on a good pass and create space for team-mates.”
Born in France, to professional footballer Jorge Higuain and painter Nancy Zacarias in December 1987, his arrival came during the one year that his father played football outside of Argentina, namely for Brest. At the end of that season, the family returned to Argentina, where Gonzalo was reared.
When he was coach of France, Raymond Domenech twice - in 2006 and 2008 – tried to persuade Higuain to play for Les Bleus. However, playing for River Plate at the time, he declined the offer and subsequently obtained an Argentinian passport. To this day, he retains French and Argentinian dual citizenship.
A key figure in the early years of Higuain’s career was the River Plate and Argentina coach Daniel Passarella, an old colleague of his father. As an 11-year-old, the youngster had accompanied Higuain senior on a scouting trip to France on behalf of Passarella, who at the time was Argentina’s national coach.
Later it was Passarella, during his second stint in charge of River Plate, who gave Higuain an important break, establishing him as first-team regular. He had joined River at the age of 10 from Buenos Aires local team, Atletico Palermo, making his River debut in May 2005.
Good performances in 2006, including a Libertadores Cup double against Brazilian side Corinthians, inevitably attracted attention on the other side of the Atlantic. In December 2006, on the advice of then-coach Fabio Capello, Real Madrid bought Higuain for 12m.
With three Spanish league titles, 190 league games and 107 league goals in his six seasons with Real, it would be hard to argue that Higuain was a failure at Madrid. Yet for much of his time in the Spanish capital he was under pressure (in different seasons) from the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Raul, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo for his team place. Coaches such as Bernd Schuster and then later Jose Mourinho had their doubts about where best to play him even if, when he lined up alongside Benzema and Ronaldo in the 2011-12 season, he formed part of a prolific attack that scored 118 goals, scoring 22 Liga goals himself.
In the end, the desire for continuity got the better of Higuain and Real let him go to Napoli for 40m in July 2013. Not only have Real never really voiced any sense of regret about his departure for Italy but many Spanish football commentators wonder if he really was worth the current
90m price tag. But anyone who watched Higuain in action in Italy last season would not have been surprised by Juventus’ readiness to spend the money they got from selling Paul Pogba on Higuain.
Clearly, Juve have bought Higuain to not only score lots of goals in Serie A, but also to score important ones in the Champions League. And that will be the biggest challenge of his career so far.
Key figure...Daniel Passarella Real deal... at Madrid