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Higuaín and Benítez settling in at Napoli

Published: Monday 16 September 2013, 9.00CET
Gonzalo Higuaín discusses settling in at SSC Napoli and following in the footsteps of Diego Maradona while coach Rafael Benítez predicts "a special season" for his new side.
by Paolo Menicucci
from Naples
 
 
 
Published: Monday 16 September 2013, 9.00CET

Higuaín and Benítez settling in at Napoli

Gonzalo Higuaín discusses settling in at SSC Napoli and following in the footsteps of Diego Maradona while coach Rafael Benítez predicts "a special season" for his new side.

Gonzalo Higuaín is not feeling any pressure to emulate the European exploits of countryman Diego Maradona at SSC Napoli.

Higuaín moved to Naples from Real Madrid CF this summer, brought in by new coach Rafael Benítez as a replacement for the departing Edinson Cavani. The 25-year-old forward represents just one piece of the jigsaw for Benítez, who has been allowed to make several notable additions to a squad back competing at the top table of European football. For the Italian side's supporters, there are renewed dreams of matching the 1980s heyday of Maradona and company.

"It doesn't put any pressure on me," said Higuaín, who has 34 Argentina caps. "It is a nice motivation that Maradona played here, and what he means to Napoli and the fans. Personally I am grateful to have had him as a coach [with Argentina] and to have known him. I am grateful that I could be at the [2010] World Cup with him.

"Right now [Napoli] is a new road in my life," continued the former CA River Plate striker, "and it is a very important road for me. Naples is a city that feels like Argentina, like Buenos Aires; the way they experience their football, the way they feel it. I am happy to be in this wonderful city."

Benítez, himself a UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool FC in 2005, has no shortage of European pedigree to call upon, having also lifted the UEFA Cup with Valencia CF and the UEFA Europa League trophy with Chelsea FC. "We have lots of players who have played Champions League football and this helps, as does my experience," the Spaniard said. "Their experience allied to mine, along with the other players who want to do well and the quality they bring, means this will be a special season for us."

View the video at the top of the page to hear more from Higuaín and Benítez.

Last updated: 16/09/13 15.26CET

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