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How brilliant is new Chelsea signing Gonzalo Higuaín?

Gonzalo Higuaín has scored goals wherever he has played – good news for new club Chelsea.

Gonzalo Higuaín celebrates scoring for Milan in his 100th UEFA club competition match
Gonzalo Higuaín celebrates scoring for Milan in his 100th UEFA club competition match ©AFP/Getty Images

Having scored 117 Serie A goals in five and a half seasons across Napoli, Juventus and AC Milan, Gonzalo Higuaín is quite some player. UEFA.com has the lowdown on the Argentina striker after his arrival at Chelsea on loan.


What they say

"He's a top striker. The most important thing is his movement – it is that of a very intelligent forward. He makes the other attackers' lives easy because he plays in behind and opens up a lot of space."
José Mourinho, former Real Madrid coach

Watch five great Higuaín goals

"I will treat him like a son who made his father very angry. You can get angry but then you always forgive your son. I owe him a lot because he had an incredible season with me. He made me angry but that's in the past."
Maurizio Sarri, former Napoli and current Chelsea coach (after Higuaín left for Juventus in 2016)

"He goes crazy when he does not score. It's in his nature. I remember a match when we were both on the bench and he didn't have any nails left by the end. He told me he just had to score when he came on. It's all he thinks about."
Patrice Evra, former Juventus team-mate

Higuaín is unveiled at Stamford Bridge
Higuaín is unveiled at Stamford Bridge©Getty Images

"'Pipa' is a phenomenon. He's an animal in the penalty box. You don't want anyone else with the ball at their feet in the box: he will score."
Leonardo Bonucci

"If you had a 'Higuaín cam' during a match, you'd see that for 90% of our attacking play he is alone in the box, and that's not because defenders switch off. Before the ball arrives, he makes two or three movements and counter-movements to shake off his marker."
Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus defender

"If it was up to me I'd bring him to my house, lock him up in a room and throw him some food every two to three hours."
Gennaro Gattuso, Milan coach (on hearing Higuaín might leave for Chelsea)

Current tally

Higuaín with Madrid in 2007
Higuaín with Madrid in 2007©Getty Images

International: 75 appearances, 31 goals
UEFA club competition: 105 appearances, 36 goals
European domestic competition: 424 appearances, 236 goals*** (to 17 Jan)

Claims to fame

Real Madrid
• Recruited from River Plate, he scored his first Real Madrid goal in a derby at Atlético – a 1-1 draw in February 2007.

• Developing his full potential in the Spanish capital, he bagged all four Madrid goals in a 4-3 victory against Málaga in November 2008.

• Registered more Liga goals than team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009/10, ending the campaign with 27; Lionel Messi (34) was the only player to outscore him in Spain's top flight that season.

• A title winner for a third time in 2011/12, he claimed his 100th Liga goal in February 2013 against Deportivo. He eventually departed for Napoli in summer 2013 with a tally of 120 goals in 259 Madrid outings across all competitions.

Higuaín celebrates scoring a goal for Napoli
Higuaín celebrates scoring a goal for Napoli©AFP/Getty Images

• Signed to replace Paris-bound Edinson Cavani, 'Pipita' notched 17 Serie A goals and won the Coppa Italia in his first term in Italy; he then scored twice from open play (and again in the shoot-out) as Napoli beat Juve on penalties to take the 2014 Italian Super Cup.

• Having struck 35 times in his first two Serie A campaigns combined, Higuaín hit a stunning 36 in 35 games in 2015/16, including a final-day hat-trick that enabled him to break the division's 66-year single-season record held by AC Milan great Gunnar Nordahl. "I had such a huge desire to beat the record," he said after his treble against Frosinone.

• Averaged over 30 goals a season in all competitions in his three years with Napoli: 91 in 146 games.

• Netted 15 goals in Europe for Napoli and remains fourth in the club's all-time European leading scorers list – only Marek Hamšík (16), Cavani (19) and Dries Mertens (20) have scored more.

Higuaín scored regularly for Juventus
Higuaín scored regularly for Juventus©Getty Images

• Following a €90m transfer – then the most expensive in Italian history – he scored on his Juve debut in a 2-1 success over Fiorentina.

• Sang the praises of then-Napoli coach Sarri when he moved on, saying: "Sarri has been a great coach for me, and if he's angry about me leaving without saying goodbye, then I apologise – I can only thank him."

• The Argentine equalled his previous best run by finding the target in six straight Serie A fixtures from 11 December 2016 to 29 January 2017.

• Amassed 40 goals in 73 league matches for the Old Lady during two years in Turin before heading to Milan in summer 2018.

• Higuaín also scooped a Scudetto-Coppa Italia double in both seasons with Juventus and went close to UEFA Champions League glory in 2017, denied by former club Madrid in the Cardiff showpiece. 

AC Milan
• Higuaín reached 100 UEFA club competition matches in their 3-1 victory against Olympiacos in the UEFA Europa League group stage in October 2018. Inevitably, he scored.

What you might not know

Diego Maradona: another ex-Napoli man who scored a few
Diego Maradona: another ex-Napoli man who scored a few©Getty Images

• Like David Trezeguet, Higuaín was born in France to Argentinian parents; unlike Trezeguet, he chose to represent Argentina at senior level.

• The forward was born in Brest, Brittany, in 1987 while his father, defender Jorge Higuaín, was playing for Stade Brestois. His father was nicknamed 'Pipa' for his supposedly big nose; thus, his son was dubbed 'Pipita' (approximate translation: little big nose).

• Has football on both sides of his family. His mother, Nancy Zacarías – a painter of Palestinian extraction – had two footballing brothers, most notably Claudio Zacarías, who suffered a serious hand injury while playing for San Lorenzo when a bomb went off in their dressing room. His determination to play again was an inspiration to Higuaín.

• A bout of meningitis when he was a ten-month-old baby ensured his bond with his mother is especially close. "Since I developed meningitis, my relationship with my mother is special," he said.

• His older brother Federico is also a striker, currently playing in the United States with Columbus Crew. The 34-year-old – once of Beşiktaş – is three years older but 12cm shorter than Gonzalo.

Higuaín after scoring for Argentina
Higuaín after scoring for Argentina©AFP/Getty Images

• Is one of just three foreign-born players to have represented Argentina at a FIFA World Cup, along with Spanish-born Pedro Suárez and Paraguayan-born Constantino Urbieta Sosa.

• His hat-trick against South Korea in 2010 made him the third Argentinian to claim a treble at a World Cup final tournament after Guillermo Stabile in 1930 and Gabriel Batistuta in 1998.

• Gained some interesting scars during his first term at Napoli, requiring eight stitches (to his jaw and eyebrow) after slipping and falling onto rocks while relaxing in a boat off the gulf of Naples.

What he says

"As Van Nistelrooy used to tell me, goals are like ketchup. If you try too hard, they won't come. And when they do come out, they all come at once."

"Is football like art? Of course. When you score a beautiful goal, from a move of five to six passes that your opponents can't stop, that's art."

"It's hunger that makes you win, even if you've done it before. I don't feel any pressure. In fact, it's a privilege for me to think Juventus bought me when they were thinking about winning in Europe."

Ronaldo during his time at Inter
Ronaldo during his time at Inter©Getty Images

"When I was younger I used to watch a lot of Italian football because of the great strikers in Serie A – Trezeguet, Batistuta, [Hernán] Crespo and [Vincenzo] Montella. And then Ronaldo, the greatest of all time in my opinion."

"When the opportunity to join Chelsea presented itself I had to take it. It's a team I've always liked that has a lot of history, a wonderful stadium and they play in the Premier League, a league I've always wanted to play in."

What he might achieve yet

• After landing two Scudetti in as many years in Turin, a European club medal is the biggest thing missing from Higuaín's cabinet; can he pick one up this season?

• Featured at the 2018 World Cup with three appearances in Russia but his last international goal dates back to October 2016, a drought he will be eager to banish.

• With 31 international strikes, Higuaín is three shy of Diego Maradona and four off Crespo who occupies fourth place on Argentina's all-time list. Overtaking those two would be some achievement.