Gonzalo Higuaín arrived at Real Madrid CF in 2007 as a promising young attacker with a mere 35 league games for Argentina's CA River Plate under his belt. Without huge fanfare but thanks to a lot of hard work and humility, the player known as 'El Pipita' has since made a name for himself as one of the Liga's most prolific marksmen. The 22-year-old was Los Merengues' top scorer with 22 goals in 2008/09 and has real grounds for optimism in 2010, having already netted eleven times in the top flight this term as well as marking his Argentina debut with a goal. He talks to uefa.com about a memorable last 12 months and his hopes for the coming year.
uefa.com: What was your favourite sporting moment in 2009?
Gonzalo Higuaín: I couldn't say there was just one. making my debut for Argentina, for example, was something very important for me. There was also the achievement of qualifying for the World Cup. I was thrilled to finish as Madrid's top scorer last season, and it's fantastic to see the team growing step by step this term.
uefa.com: How would you define yourself as a player and a person?
Higuaín: I always say the same when asked this question: it's other people who have to express their opinion about me. I leave commenting on these things to everyone else. I'm quite a humble person but one who will never throw in the towel no matter what the circumstances. I think I'm a good professional.
uefa.com: Was the game last season when you hit four goals in the same match against Málaga CF the best of your career to date?
Higuaín: I felt immense happiness. When that happened I thought about my family, my friends and everybody by my side. Furthermore, I was delighted for everyone who came to the Santiago Bernabéu: it was a game in which we'd had to come from behind several times. I hope all the games in which I play will be the best of my career. Having said that, I think that the best is yet to come.
uefa.com: If Madrid reach the UEFA Champions League final at the Santiago Bernabéu, which team would you most like to face?
Higuaín: Honestly, I wouldn't care who we came up against. The only thing I care about is that Real Madrid reaches that final.
uefa.com: When you won your first Liga title in 2007, you scored a goal in the dying seconds against RCD Espanyol that clinched a crucial 4-3 victory. Have you dreamt about scoring in similar circumstances to earn Madrid a tenth European Champion Clubs' Cup?
Higuaín: That moment against Espanyol represented one of the best moments of my life. Of course I've dreamt of doing something similar next May in the final; it would be truly beautiful.
uefa.com: Given your success in the Liga, would it be a bittersweet experience to face Spain in the FIFA World Cup final this summer and hit the winner?
Higuaín: First and foremost I'm a professional and I'm going to defend my country and my shirt. Spain is a country I love very much, but I would certainly celebrate scoring.
uefa.com: Would you like to finish your career at Madrid? If you do leave the Santiago Bernabéu one day, how would you like the fans to remember you?
Higuaín: It would be beautiful if I could finish my career here. Real Madrid and this city are like my second home. I would like the fans here to remember me as a player who worked very hard and who was also humble. When you help to win a title, you are normally remembered.
uefa.com: Finally, what are your hopes for 2010?
Higuaín: To win the UEFA Champions League and the Liga with Real Madrid. I also want to compete at the World Cup and to win it. I'd ask for health, hard work and happiness. I would also like to tell the users of uefa.com that I wish them all a happy year ahead and the best of everything.
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