‘I Nearly Quit Football’ – Gonzalo Higuain Recalls Agony over Mother’s Life-Threatening Illness

Gonzalo Higuain Recalls Agony over Mother's Life-Threatening Illness

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.

Also Read: Transfer News: Gonzalo Higuain Joins Chelsea on Loan till the end of the Season

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.”

“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.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Team Profiles – Argentina Football Team

Lionel Messi Argentina Football Team Captain

Argentina Football Team (FC) took the hard way to qualify for the World cup finals. They needed to win the final group game against Ecuador to be sure of a place, and things didn’t start well when they went down by a goal in the first few minutes of the game. It yet again took the magic of their captain Lionel Messi who scored a hattrick, to take them to Russia. In a campaign to forget, they had three managers and lost embarrassingly to Paraguay, Ecuador, and Brazil at home and managed to muster only seven wins from their 18 games played.

Another horrible statistic showed that only Bolivia had fewer goals than Argentina Foot, a country that is blessed with attacking talent with the likes of Aguero and Higuaín and arguably the greatest player in the world in the form of their captain, Lionel Messi. And the Barcelona forward will yet again shoulder the burden of an expecting nation in Russia.

Player to Watch Out: 

Lionel Messi

For many, He is the greatest Football player to ever play the game and a world cup winner’s medal will only strengthen their case. After another great season with Barcelona, the great man will be desperate to fill his international trophy cabinet, but the question is can he do it all by himself? If he does, it would surely be his greatest ever achievement and might even propel him to the top of the list of the greatest players in the world. 

FIFA world ranking: 5

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

Captain: Lionel Messi

Nickname: La Albiceleste (The White and Sky Blue)

World Cup history: Qualified 17 times (1930, 1934, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1974, 1978*, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018)
*Qualified as hosts

Best World Cup result: Winners (1978, 1986)

TAB odds: 9-1

Prediction:

Argentina Football Team should make the quarterfinals easily but their dependence on Messi to get them out of every troubling situation makes it seem like they won’t go any further in the tournament. But the fact of the matter is, nothing is impossible when you have a man called Lionel Messi leading your team out onto the pitch. 

FIFA World Cup 2018: Juventus players going to Russia

Paulo Dybala Gonzalo Higuain Medhi Benatia Wojciech Szczesny Juventus

With the World Cup just around the corner, the fans are brimming with immense joy and excitement. Some people just need another reason to search something about the World Cup. We tend to connect the things that we love; one way is to look for players who represent our clubs in the World Cup and add another few countries to the list of teams to support in the upcoming World Cup. This article will look at one club Juventus and the 10 players who are off to Russia.

Here are the players from Juventus who will be playing in the FIFA World Cup 2018

ARGENTINA: Gonzalo Higuain & Paulo Dybala

Jorge Sampaoli’s side is in Group D, beginning their World Cup campaign against Iceland on 16th June. Further fixtures follow against Croatia on 21st June and Nigeria on 26th June. Gonzalo Higuain has been a reliable source of goals for Argentina with 31 goals in his 70 caps. At the age of 30, El Pipita is still expected to be a key player for his country alongside Messi.

One of the best young footballers in the world, Paulo Dybala hasn’t had a major impact on his nation with no goals in his 12 caps. La Joya will certainly hope to change that in the upcoming World Cup in Russia.

BRAZIL: Douglas Costa

For the first time since 1950, Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia were all drawn in the same first-round group. Brazil pitches their enterprising, attack-minded brand of football, they are considered to be one of the most powerful sides going to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and they are widely expected to top the group. With such a deadly attacking squad, it is difficult to fit into the team, Douglas Costa is one such player who might not get as many minutes as he’d like. He has scored just 3 goals in his 23 matches for the nation. But he will definitely be motivated by his recent permanent deal with Juventus.

COLOMBIA: Juan Cuadrado

Jose Pekerman’s side will face Japan, Poland, and Senegal in Group H. Colombia is poised to finish on the top of the group. In terms of who will advance to the knockout stages, the battle between Poland and Colombia could prove pivotal. Juan Cuadrado will be one of the key figures in the Colombian squad for the upcoming World Cup, he has already made 69 appearances for his nation and will be looking to add to his tally. His link with star James Rodriguez will be crucial for Colombia’s World Cup Campaign.

CROATIA: Mario Mandzukic

Croatia will play against Argentina, Nigeria & Iceland in Group D. Even though the competition is tough, Croatia will likely qualify for the knockouts. A prolific goalscorer who is known for his defensive contribution and aerial power, Mario Mandzukic has already scored 30 goals in his 82 caps for his country and will play a crucial role in Croatia’s World Cup campaign in Russia.

FRANCE: Blaise Matuidi

France is in a relatively easy group with Peru, Australia, and Denmark, all of them considered to be leagues below France. Blaise Matuidi is looking forward to his 2nd World Cup at the age of 31. The Juventus midfielder has played 67 matches for his country and has managed to score 9 goals. He is all set to take his country into a great victory.

GERMANY: Sami Khedira

Joachim Low’s reigning champions will face Mexico, South Korea, and Sweden in Group F. The four-time world champions and current FIFA Confederations Cup holders, Germany is widely expected to top this group. Die Mannschaft will be looking to defend their title as the World Cup champions of 2014. Centre-midfielder Sami Khedira has already appeared in 2 previous world cups and is all ready to use his experience to another victory. 31-year-old Juventus player has appeared in 75 international matches with 7 goals. He is all set to work hard for another victory for his country.

MOROCCO: Medhi Benatia

Morocco is the dark horses in their group which has Iran, Portugal, and Spain. They will require a lot of hard work and a good set of players in order to rise in the World Cup chart. Medhi Benatia is ready to take his nation through this big challenge. The 31-year-old center back has appeared in 56 matches for his country with 2 goals. He is looking forward to providing a lot of clean sheets.

POLAND: Wojciech Szczesny 

Poland is in group H with Colombia, Senegal & Japan. They stand a good chance in qualifying for the knockout stage. With some great talent in their team, Poland is ready to play well this World Cup. Goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny will be set to maintain as many clean sheets as possible. He has played in 34 matches for his country at the age of 28 and will be looking forward to more.
14
URUGUAY: Rodrigo Bentancur

The two-time champions, Uruguay are looking like the team which will most likely top Group A against Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the home team, Russia. In May 2018 the 20-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur was named in Uruguay’s squad for the World Cup. The hard-working midfielder has appeared in 6 matches for his nation and is hoping for more in his debut World Cup in Russia.

End of the line; 5 Players who might play their final World Cup

5 Players who might play their final World Cup

The biggest competition in the world is back after 4 years and like every other time, this will be the last time some players play in this competition. Let’s take a look at a few of the players who will probably play their final FIFA World Cup.

Andres Iniesta – Spain

Spanish clubs seemed to have turned the tables on their style by giving homage to their departing players this season. This was seen clearly on Andres Iniesta’s final match for FC Barcelona as he stayed on the pitch till 1 am, sitting on the grass and possibly looking back at his magnificent career and reminiscing his time in Camp Nou. Joining the club when he was just a young boy, he served the club for 22 years featuring in 674 matches, winning 32 trophies and leaving an immortal legacy in the process.

As the scorer of the winner in Spain’s last World Cup victory, Iniesta still continues to have an impact on the squad. With 13 goals in 125 matches for the Spanish National side, he’s been selected in the squad for the coming World Cup as well.
Iniesta, now 34 looks to be coming to the end of his career and he might as well be playing his last World Cup as he would be 38 by the time the next World Cup arrives and surely Spain’s treasury of gifted midfielders will have someone ready to fill his boots.
He is certain to play a massive role in the team which is in the competitive Group B with Iran, Morroco and UEFA Euro 16 winners Portugal. It is truly a difficult idea for us fans to digest but this would probably be the last time we get to see the Spanish Magician in action, fighting for the glory of his country.

Vincent Kompany – Belgium

Vincent Kompany has proven himself to be an integral part of the Manchester City squad, gradually making his way into the hall of fame of the Premier League since joining in 2008. The sturdy defender played in 246 Premier League matches scoring 17 goals and keeping 89 clean sheets and guided City to their record-breaking Premier league title last season.

The captain for both club and country has been a crucial part of Belgium’s defensive line since their rise to prominence. He has made 74 appearances for his country and scored 4 goals. The big Belgian was reportedly one of the first names of the sheet of Belgium’s World Cup squad. At the age of 32, Kompany is another player who has slowed down with age, represented by his fringe game time with Manchester City last season. This is an indication that this might be Kompany’s last World Cup and he will likely be replaced by one of Belgium’s talented young stars desperate to make it to the big stages, one name stands out, Jason Deyaner.
Kompany is still the heart of the Belgian side and they will demand his leadership during their challenges while facing Panama, Tunisia, and England in Group G. Vincent will undoubtedly definitely go down as a legend for his country even if this is his last World Cup campaign.

Gonzalo Higuain – Argentina

Gonzalo Higuain has been one of the most prolific strikers in the world of football playing for European giants such as Real Madrid, Napoli, and Juventus, where he is plying his trade currently. His controversial €90 million transfer from Napoli to rivals Juventus has made him the second most expensive South American footballer of all time (after Neymar). Gonzalo has had amazing seasons with his clubs Real Madrid, scoring 107 goals in 190 matches, Napoli scoring 71 goals in 104 matches and now Juventus where he is accredited with 40 goals in 73 appearances.

El Pipita has been a full international for Argentina since 2009 representing the country at two FIFA World Cups and three Copa América tournaments contributing in their second-place finishes at the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa América and the Copa América Centenario in 2016 playing in 70 matches and scoring 31 goals.
Sometimes criticised for being a ‘small-game player’ and lacking pace Gonzalo is still regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. At the age of 30, he might find it difficult to make it to the next World Cup squad for Argentina because of one reason, their sheer ability to produce world-class attackers, year after year. One of the candidates to replace him will be his Serie A competitor Mauro Icardi who outscored him last season.
Higuain is known for his presence in the air and his ability to hold the ball, but most of all, his ice-cold finishing in one-on-one situations. Argentina will rely on Higuain’s strength to ensure they beat Croatia, Nigeria, and Iceland in Group D to qualify for the playoffs.

Thiago Silva – Brazil

Thiago Silva, a central defender has made 158 appearances and scored 9 goals for Paris Saint-Germain winning four consecutive Ligue 1 championships, five consecutive Coupes de la Ligue and three consecutive Coupe de France with the club. The captain for both Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team has established himself as one of the most tactically and physically adept defenders in the world of football.

Making a total of 68 appearances and scoring 5 goals, he has been a full international since 2008. Silva captained Brazil to victory at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and fourth place at the World Cup a year later, both on home soil.
Thiago Silva, now 33 years of age is past his prime but still continues to perform consistently for both club and country. The prospects of his World Cup selection in the 2022 one seems to be improbable as the younger players like Marcelo or Gabriel are expected to have the edge over him at that time.
His acclaimed style of tactical defending; not diving into tackles and precise passing and most importantly his leadership will be key to whether Brazil can get past their Group E opponents Costa Rica, Serbia and Switzerland and lift the cup.

Tim Cahill – Australia

Tim Cahill plays for Millwall and Australia. He has played in a number of top clubs all around the world including Everton, the New York Red Bulls, Shanghai Shenhua, Hangzhou Greentown, and Melbourne City. His main position is as an attacking midfielder who can play as a full time forward as well. His ability to score has been recognized internationally, he is accredited to 52 goals for Millwall, 56 for Everton, 14 for NY Red Bulls, 11 for Shanghai Shenhua, 4 for Hangzhou Greentown and 11 for Melbourne City making him one of the most prolific players in the history of the sport.
He is one of the highest profile footballers in the Asian Football Confederation. Cahill was the first Australian to score at a FIFA World Cup and following that Cahill has scored in three World Cups and has the most goals by any Australian in the World Cup with five goals. In 2007, he became the first Australian player to score at an AFC Asian Cup Cahill. His 50 goals and 105 caps for the Australian National team has made him the team’s highest goal scorer of all time which begs the question, has any player contributed more to their national team than Tim Cahill for Australia? Many believe not.

It is true that at the age of 38 he might be playing his last World Cup but Cahill continues to defy time and is categorized as one of the rare kind of footballers known as ‘Fine Wine’ (Gets better with age). Such a grand legacy seems impossible to surpass, the Socceroos fans will certainly hope that there is someone who can.
Tim Cahill will be fighting for their team’s survival against Group C opponents such as Denmark, Peru, and France.
The FIFA World Cup 2018 will have legends like these who play their last World Cup for their country and end their dreams emphatically but it is also a place where young players will get their first taste of the biggest competition in the world and build fresh new dreams in turn.