Chelsea new boy, Gonzalo Higuain, has revealed how close he was to quitting football after learning that his mother was suffering from a life-threatening medical condition.
Higuain, 31, confirmed his move to Stamford Bridge earlier this week, prematurely ending his loan spell with Serie A giants, AC Milan, to spend the final few months of the 2018/19 campaign at Chelsea, while still being on loan from Juventus.
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) January 26, 2019
The highly-anticipated move has once again teamed him up with Maurizio Sarri – under whom he enjoyed his most prolific season in 2015/16, scoring 38 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions.
But the former Real Madrid forward admits he came mighty close to calling it quits following Argentina’s defeat to Chile in the 2016 Copa America final, after coming to know about his mother Nancy’s serious medical condition.
“I decided immediately that I must stop playing football so that I could look after my mum,”
– recalled the Argentinian – whose mother has now made a full recovery – as quoted by Mirror.
“I suspected something was wrong at home during the Copa America, but it was still a huge shock when I was told the truth. I felt guilty because I played in that final without knowing. My whole world came crashing down at that moment. I was not interested in anything else but my mum.”
“I told her I was finished with football and if it had been down to me I would have stopped playing. Her reply was that when I played football it made her happy. She told me that she would not allow me to give up something I loved. She asked me to carry on for her — and I knew I had to grant that wish.”
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) January 26, 2019
“My family and friends are everything to me. After that, comes football. People need to understand that. They see you kick a ball and they don’t think you have anything to think about outside the game,” he concluded.
Since the start of the season, Chelsea have struggled in the final third. With Alvaro Morata set for a move to Atletico Madrid, Olivier Giroud remains Higuain’s only competitor. The Frenchman believes Higuain will help Chelsea greatly, claiming that competition for places is always beneficial.
“Gonzalo’s arrival will help me to step up again and keep me fighting to be competitive by working hard in training,” Giroud explained.
“And it’s going to be a benefit for the team. I hope he will help us to win trophies.”
Following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal, boss Maurizio Sarri, criticized the team’s temperament, and Giroud said it wasn’t the first time this season that the Italian has had blasted their attitude.
Giroud said: “After that game, we had to show something else — strong character, team character, be a team of monsters on the pitch.”
“We knew we wanted to have a strong reaction. We are professional, we know we can play well and that we need to do more. We talked between us but afterward, you have to put the action on the pitch. You have to show determination through some actions. It’s nice to talk, but sometimes you have to go out and show you can do it.”
Chelsea are next in action at home to Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.