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Tuesday April 3 2018
Higuain master of misses

While Juventus have a point to prove against Real Madrid, nobody needs to respond to doubters more than Gonzalo Higuain, writes Susy Campanale

Gonzalo Higuain is the Marmite of strikers: people seem to either love him or hate him. Much of this tends to be down to how often you watch him play. If you only saw him in the most important matches of his career, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was some overweight chump who lucked into the role with all the cool-headed demeanour of a trainee barista. Pipita is known to many as the ultimate choker, the epitome of why Argentina fail to win major tournaments and the belly that launched a thousand memes.

It’s nonsense, of course, as he has a stellar record in Serie A and at international level, but not necessarily in the games that catch the eye. There is a saying in England when people want to belittle a star forward: “Ah, but can he do it on a cold, rainy night in Stoke?” Higuain has the precise opposite problem. He’d love the Britannia Stadium on a Tuesday evening in the freezing drizzle, battling it out with stoic defenders determined to chop him down at every opportunity. That’s where Higuain thrives. Put him in a Champions League showdown with Real Madrid or a Copa America Final and you have a different story. At least, that’s what the common view of the Argentine seems to be.

Tonight’s quarter-final in Turin comes at a remarkably bad time for Higuain. Only last week, he was utterly humiliated by a series of shocking misses in Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, where Spain crushed Argentina 6-1 in a friendly. Real Madrid talent Isco scored a hat-trick in that game, but the name on everyone’s lips was Higuain thanks to some truly special misses. His vague waft to turn the cross over when unmarked from six yards was just made to go viral.

There’s a familiar scenario now with Pipita: he’s sent clear one against one with the goalkeeper and still can’t find the net. We’ve seen it time and time again, always in the biggest games, in the brightest spotlight on the most prestigious stage. World Cup Final. Copa America Final – twice. Last season, Higuain netted a brace against Monaco on Juve’s way to the Champions League Final. Impressive, other than for the fact those were his first career goals in the knockout round of the tournament since April 2013.

Maybe he has turned a corner. He was the most important player in the Round of 16 success against Tottenham Hotspur, scoring twice in the first leg, then in a few minutes both finding the net and providing the wonderful assist for Paulo Dybala at Wembley. Nothing would send a message quite like a goal against Real Madrid, the side that flattened Juve in the Final last year and where he began his European experience.

Juventus paid €90m to prise Il Pipa away from rivals Napoli and it looks as if he could yet be decisive in giving them the Serie A title ahead of his former teammates. He has scored some important goals this term, most notably the only strike at the Stadio San Paolo and two against Milan. However, for the most part, Higuain’s goals have been against the lower-mid-table opponents, those fixtures without much pressure.

It had looked as if he’d shaken off that lack of confidence and calm in front of goal during big moments, but then came that Spain friendly and the miss that travelled round the Internet at the speed of light. Juventus have something to prove against Real Madrid, but nobody will be feeling that spotlight more than Higuain.

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Have your say...
@maldini heir
'Challenge the notion... dont need supe stars' and you claim to understand football?
'Why Higuain score 36 goals fo napoli and miss a sitter'...
You put it down to luck? Are you really really rhat deluded? If it was luck you'd miss the odd sitter and pick up scoring again. Higuain gets lost in any game bigger than a league fixture. He useless... get rid and for the love of god change your name!
on the 6th April, 2018 at 5:57am
Pipita is definitely a master of misses or he would have more goals in Europe’s big games. Higuain needs to go while Juve build a team that can contend in Europe. If he was a superstar he would have had a goal today and in big games last year. #higuainsgottago #investinnewstiker
on the 4th April, 2018 at 1:37am
Time to rise, Rugani, the BBC are really, really old.

All juve players' mentality just on domestic level, not world class.
on the 4th April, 2018 at 12:38am
Ciao Rube, its been REAL.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 11:21pm
Sell him. Overated. Juve have won nothing because of him. Cash in accept the loss. Juve are a joke. Paints the whole picture of the sorry state italian football is in.
Anymore evidence needed that reform must happen now. With Italy not in world cup and juve (apparently Italia finest) out it highlights the lack of quality in Italy and the players that are there are overated and simply average at best!
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 11:04pm
@Anonymous: My point is Juve paid 94M Euros on a guy to help them win in Europe, while the guy they sacrificed for it has won already in Europe while Juve has not for 22 years. Juve does not need Higuain to win in Italy, and it was a waste of money.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 10:29pm
Juve really need to invest this summer after 0-3 against Real Madrid. Better defenders and midfielders. Emre Can, Savic, Martial and a better right back. Keeping Dybala is IMPERATIVE.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 9:37pm
Dear Susy, you got this one wrong I must say. That He misses chances and penalties, yes. But don't other strikers do? Take it or leave it, Gonzalo will go down as one of the greatest finishers of all time. His goals and statistics speaks volumes (you can even compare to Benzema).He is great and we have nothing to prove. #finoallafine #ForzaJuventus
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 7:31pm
I think u are very harsh on Higuain,he is a world class player u only see he’s missed chances,even Cristiano Ronaldo missed a lot of chances in Euro 2016,did you see in Tottenham he had one chance and he scored.as for his record on nock out stages in champions league he hasn’t played many but in those he has played he scored very important goals for Juve
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 6:24pm
This article reads like the ramblings of a bitter Milan fan, unhappy that their team lost to Juve on Saturday.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 6:03pm
Probably the worst article I have read on Football Italia. Think the editor needs to do some checks on these before publishing.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 5:09pm
@Calcio Cup Are you honestly comparing the Europa League to the Champions League? Half the teams don't take that competition seriously. I like Pogba but he has been a flop so far. Higuain has bailed Juve out with big pressure goals for two seasons, people need to take the blinkers off.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 5:07pm
The best part of this article is this: goals against Monaco "...were his first career goals in the knockout round of the tournament since April 2013". Perhaps Ms. Campanale had forgot that Higuain did not feature in CL knockout round in his 3 seasons with Napoli (2013-2016). In two of those seasons they were not even make it to the group stage. You have to be in the knockout stage to score a goal, right?
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 3:55pm
All of you Juventini criticizing Susy Campanale for the speaking the TRUTH!?!? Higuain IS big game bottler;missed the penalty that cost Napoli a CL place in 2015, missed WC & Copa America chances,did NOTHING in the CL final last year....Juve paid 90M Euros for him.and Juve could win every Scudetto&Coppa Italia while he is with them,but it is worth NOTHING as long as they continue to fail in Europe.Pogba WON a European trophy in his FIRST season at Man.Utd alone is worth more than Higuain.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 2:06pm
Nonsense article. Higuain has been superb for Juve in the knockout stages since joining, including 3 goals and an assist vs Spurs and a double in the semi-final last year. As usual people don't read into statistics. How many knockout games had he started before joining Juve? The same nonsense was written about Tevez. He has also scored crucial goals in just about every "big" Serie A game.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 12:56pm
During the Spurs game I was stood in a pub berating Higuain as at one-nil we were going out. He then scores a goal and sets up Dybala. Then I was reminded by my friend that he scored two goals in the first leg. I figure I'll be berating the Argentinian from start to finish tonight!
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 11:09am
HIGUAIN
--------------

What really matters to US:

Very good in his Juventus career!
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 10:09am
"...other than for the fact those were his first career goals in the knockout round of the tournament since April 2013"

kudos! very nice way to spin it indeed. Care to mention that he didn't even play any knock out games in 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16?

you can make a million good points, but then lose all credibility by pointing out such shallow facts!
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 8:59am
ciao amici!
it is not fair to call Higuain fat or chump!!!!
he is one of the most talented strikers in the world and yes sometimes he misses but he scores when it matter the most!
even though Spain is a great team but Argentina was so unlucky to lose Sergio (the first choice goalie)also not having Dybala did cost them too much!
with IL GRANDE BUFFON!!! in the post and our fantastic fans I would see these one going our way regardless if Ronaldo scores or not!
FORZA JUVE!!!
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 4:58am
Stupid biased article, and this is supposed to be a journalist.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 4:40am
Possibly the worst blog post of FI since I started reading it. Dear editor should clarify, maybe with a few examples, how many of those one-on-ones has Higuain missed in this season and last one? He was easily the best player among all the players on the pitch last round which included the most in-form striker in the world right now, Harry Kane. No matter what he does he won't be able to turn back the clock and score that chance against Germany. It's not him that should change. It's you.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 2:49am
one does. Was Tardelli a mega-superstar because he scored a goal in the World Cup final? No. He was just there at the right place at the right time. Single moments decide a players' career but we should judge them by their overall numbers. Higuain's numbers are very impressive. If he gets a bit of luck in the Champions League he might be remembered as a great.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 1:39am
and fans make out. I'm also a big believer in luck. Luck often explains those things we find it difficult to explain; how can Higuain score 36 goals in one season for Napoli in Serie A and miss a sitter in the World Cup final? Simple probability answers that. Give Higuain the same scoring opportunity 10 times and the odds are he'll score it (based on his career goals' record). At that moment in the World Cup final he missed. At a certain moment Tardelli scored. One doesn't have a World Cup medal
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 1:36am
I probably didn't make myself very clear under the other article about Juve. I have a huge amount of respect for Juve and I wish my Milan would replicate them. As part of my apparent criticisms of Juve I criticised Higuain. I even called him a choker like this article. What I really like about Juve is they challenge this notion that to win you have to have a team of mega-superstars. Juve show that this is nonsense. That the difference between world class and average is not as great as media
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 1:29am
Does this woman get paid to write this hogwash? "For the most part, Higuain's goals have been against lower-mid-table opponents, those fixtures without much pressure". First of all, most goals of any striker comes against the lesser teams. Why? because that's just the majority of every league, everywhere. Stupid remark #1. Stupid remark #2, without much pressure? This entire season, Napoli have been pressing and ahead of Juve for a large portion. EVERY goal and assist had tons of pressure.
on the 3rd April, 2018 at 1:16am

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