Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain talked recently about his side’s chances of winning the UEFA Champions League. The argentine forward also explained why leaving Napoli was a good choice.
The Italian giants are no strangers to continental success. Most recently Juve reached the final in 2014-15 season, when they lost 3-1 to Barcelona. Higuain has never won the trophy himself, but he was viewed as an important transfer target for Juve if the club was going to advance to the next level.
Higuain’s career trajectory has been an interesting one. He joined Real Madrid from River Plate in 2006 with the reputation of a being a wonderkid. Throughout his career at Madrid (2006-2013) he scored 121 times. However, with plenty of attacking talent on hand, Higuain had difficulty securing a place in the starting line-up.
He left for Napoli in 2013 with the promise that he would become one of linchpin of the team. He did, scoring 91 times in 146 appearances. Ironically, the first season after he left, Real did win the Champions League, the trophy Juventus now have in their sights.
The Bianconeri were ready to spend almost €90 million to steal Gonzalo Higuain away from Italian rivals Napoli. The player made it clear he sees the change as a step towards bigger and better things. He also talked recently about the team’s chances against Porto in the round-of-16 tie in the UCL.
“We can win the Champions League, but we have to be calm. I know we’re a strong team and I know we can get to the end. So we have to start that journey away at Porto. We can win the Champions League, but we have to be calm,” the striker told La Stampa ahead of the first leg game on Wednesday.
We’re on the final straight to #FCPJuve We’re ready #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve #UCL pic.twitter.com/69nm3nlMfw
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) February 21, 2017
Changing one Italian team for another has certainly had an effect on his popularity with Napoli supporters. However Higuain feels that the move was the next logical step in his career.
“Playing with the best players makes you improve, it’s logical. Whoever you are, you can always learn. All you have to do is look at Gigi [Buffon], he’s won everything but he still trains like a kid. That’s true for Dani Alves and other team-mates too.”
“It’s hunger that makes you win, even if you’ve done it before. I know I made the right choice, I don’t feel any pressure. In fact, it’s a privilege for me to think that they bought me while thinking about winning in Europe.”
“I’m 29 now and I’ve reached a point of mental tranquillity. I’m playing for a team which will challenge for the Champions League, and I’ve found a beautiful city. Playing at Juventus Stadium is spectacular, before going onto the pitch you see pictures of [Michel] Platini, [Roberto] Baggio, [Zinedine] Zidane, [Alessandro] Del Piero and you say to yourself ‘how could I not give my all?‘”