Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain has named Brazilian icon Ronaldo as ‘the best ever’, and admits to having spent hours watching the former PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Internazionale and Real Madrid phenomenon at work on old VHS tapes when he was growing up in Argentina.
Higuain was a teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo’s at Real Madrid and an international colleague of Lionel Messi at international, yet ‘R9’ Ronaldo is the only one for him in the GOATdebate.
“I’ve watched two million of his goals. For me, he’s the best ever, by a big margin,” Higuain explained in an interview with The Guardian.
As for the key to his own goalscoring prowess, Higuain commented, “For me, it’s about always having the image of the goal in my mind. That’s fundamental, I think.”
After leaving Real Madrid in 2013, where he had scored a very impressive 110 goals in his final five seasons after arriving from River Plate as an unproven youngster, Higuain has established himself as one of the most feared and prolific strikers in Europe.
His goal tally improved year on year at Napoli, culminating in a haul of 36 in the league in 2015/16 to equal an 87-year-old Serie A record. He scored 32 in all competitions during his debut season at Juventus after a €90m move and has already found the net twice in 2017/18.
Higuain has acquired a reputation in the eyes of some as a ‘bottler’, though. He has played in a World Cup final, two Copa America finals and a Champions League final for club and country since 2014, and has missed several high profile chances that could have changed history.
The player himself does not see himself as cursed, or not having the mental strength to cope on the biggest of stages. Instead, he places a great deal of emphasis on just reaching that stage.
“I always believe that it’s beautiful to win important matches, but it’s also very important simply to reach those moments. I truly believe that. Juve have played two Champions League finals in three years. That is very difficult to do,” he explained.
And when it comes to the critics who point out his flaws, Higuain has little time, explaining, “My philosophy for football is to be happy with what you’re doing.
“Pay attention to people who want good things for you: to your team‑mates, to the staff – if my father, or my manager, or my club’s president says something that interests me. Not someone who does not know me and is not saying these things to help me get better.”