FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Players in the World 2017: No.11, Gonzalo Higuain
With Real Madrid it was Cristiano Ronaldo, with Argentina it’s Lionel Messi – and at Juve there’s the omnipotence of Gigi Buffon and a much-loved defence. Even compatriot Paulo Dybala often overshadows Gonzalo Higuain, with his reputation for blowing chances in big games always in easy reach for critics.
The dissenting voices surrounding the 29-year-old now also include an entire Italian city: the notoriously passionate supporters of Naples cast Higuain as Judas after he turned his back on them to join Juventus.
- Higuain has contributed to a goal every 98.2 minutes since moving to Serie A in 2013
Yet few can suggest that his €90 million move north hasn’t been a triumph. In winning the Serie A title and lifting the Coppa Italia in 2017, his contribution of 32 goals in all competitions also helped the Old Lady reach the Champions League final once again.
For those who still think he chokes when it matters, Higuain netted winning strikes against Roma, Lazio, Fiorentina, derby rivals Torino and former club Napoli. He also won the penalty that decided their Champions League last-16 tie against Porto and scored twice in the semi-finals, shrugging off the usual comments about his weight as he did so.
Higuain's presence in the penalty area inspires panic in defences across Europe, and seeing the Argentine drive beyond would-be markers has become an increasingly common sight thanks to his much-improved dribbling skills.
Of course, he’ll still be seen by many as the fat bloke who cost Messi an international trophy. But frankly, Higuain – and fans of Juventus – couldn’t care less. His way of silencing them all is by going about his business in the same way he always does – scoring goals... just as he did in nabbing the winner against old club Napoli to get Juve's 2017/18 title defence back on track.
Highlight: A Champions League semi-final first-leg brace against Monaco which helped take Juve to another Champions League final.
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