Gonzalo Higuain: The hero of club football
An Argentine professional footballer who plays as a striker for Italian club Juventus and the Argentina national team, Gonzalo Higuaín turns 30 today.
Early Life :
Higuaín was born on 10 December 1987 in Brest, France, the son of the Argentine footballer Jorge Higuaín, who was then playing for Stade Brestois 29. He left France at the age of ten months and does not speak French, but retains French citizenship in addition to his Argentine nationality, which he successfully applied for in January 2007. Higuaín has two elder brothers, Nicolas and Federico, the latter of whom plays for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Columbus Crew as a deep-lying forward, and one younger brother, Lautaro.
Club Career :
Gonzalo was born in the family of a professional footballer from Argentina who had a contract with a local French club. Gonzalo’s parents came back to their homeland in Argentina when he still was not a year old, which is why he has a French passport, although he cannot speak French. In 2006, after a successful display on the club level Gonzalo got two simultaneous invitations to play for national teams. At that moment France and Argentina national teams fought for the player. But then Higuaín refused to play for any of the national teams having taken a pause to reflect.
Later, the player chose to play for the Argentina national team and began his club career at Club Atlético River Plate together with his brother who is also a professional player. Successful displays in River Plate in the seasons of 2004-2006 helped the player draw the attention from the Madrid club. In 2007, Gonzalo Higuaín officially became its player and got in the team’s main squad at once as Real Madrid had serious problems with forwards and only Raúl could successfully attack but already was not young and not in his best shape. Over six seasons with Los Blancos Higuaín scored more than 100 goals in 190 matches. However, he did not have a solid place in the starting line-up and in the summer 2013 completed a move to Italian outfit Napoli in a deal worth £34.5m.
After a month of transfer speculation, on 26 July 2016, Higuaín transferred to rivals Juventus for a fee of €90 million paid in two installments, becoming one of the highest football transfers of all-time and highest ever transfer for an Italian club. Three days after his move, Higuaín stated that his reason for moving to Juventus was because of his relationship with Napoli’s chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.
International Career :
Higuaín is one of only three foreign-born players to have played for Argentina in a FIFA World Cup, along with Pedro Arico Suárez and Constantino Urbieta Sosa. He initially rejected calls from both the Argentina and France national teams, claiming at the time he was undecided for which country he would prefer to play, before ultimately choosing Argentina. Higuaín was called up by the Argentina Olympic squad for a friendly match against Guatemala in February 2008, and scored two goals on his debut as Argentina won 5–0, though the match was not officially recognized by FIFA as an “A” international match.
At the FIFA World Cup in RSA Higuaín became one of the main forwards of the Argentina national team and managed to meet high expectations. He scored the tournament’s first hat-trick in Argentina’s first match. However, Gonzalo’s successful display did not help his team win medals of the championship as in the quarterfinal they were slammed 4-0 by the German national team.
Style of Play :
A hardworking striker and a prolific goalscorer, Higuaín is considered to be one of the top strikers of his generation, and is known in particular for his great striking ability, as well as his opportunism and clinical finishing inside the penalty area, while his height, eye for goal, and physique make him a dangerous aerial presence in the box. He also possesses good technical skills, and an ability to link-up with teammates, hold up the ball, and lay it off to other players. His intelligent offensive movement off the ball and pace in the final third of the pitch make him an offensive threat during counter-attacks, and also allow him to lose his markers and get on the end of passes, or create space for his teammates with his attacking runs.
Real Madrid :
La Liga: 2006–07, 2007–08, 2011–12
Copa del Rey: 2010–11
Supercopa de España: 2008, 2012
Coppa Italia: 2013–14
Supercoppa Italiana: 2014
Serie A: 2016–17
Coppa Italia: 2016–17
FIFA World Cup: Runner-up 2014
Copa América: Runner-up 2015, 2016
Serie A Team of the Year: 2013–14, 2015–16, 2016–17
Serie A Top-scorer: 2015–16 (36 goals)
UEFA Europa League Squad of the season: 2013–14, 2014–15
ESM Team of the Year: 2015–16
Forward of the “Ideal Team of America”: 2006
FIFA World Cup 2010 Man of the Match: vs. South Korea
FIFA World Cup 2014 Man of the Match: vs. Belgium
FIFPro World XI 4th team: 2016
His playing style has earned him comparisons with compatriots Hernán Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta. Despite his impressive scoring record, Higuaín has often been criticized for failing to deliver in the most important of matches for both club and country. Though this doesn’t fail to establish his utter class and poaching ability. Happy Birthday Higuain !