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Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain
Birth date: 
October 12, 1987

Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín (born 10 December 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a striker for Napoli and the Argentina national football team. Nicknamed El Pipita or Pipa, as was his father, Higuaín was born in France, attaining Argentine citizenship in 2007, and now holding dual nationality. Able to play as a striker, Higuaín "is known for his speed in the last third of the pitch and his great striking ability.

Higuaín was born in Brest, France, the son of the Argentine former footballer Jorge Higuaín, who was playing for Stade Brestois 29 as an expatriate. Therefore, he holds dual French-Argentine nationality.  Higuaín started playing in the youth teams and made his debut with River Plate in a 2–1 defeat against Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata on 29 May 2005. On 12 February 2006, he scored his first league goal in a 3–1 victory over Banfield. Higuaín ended the 2005–06 season with five goals in 12 appearances.

In December 2006, Spanish club Real Madrid signed Higuaín for €12 million from Club Atlético River Plate. His debut came on 11 January 2007 against Real Betis in the second round of the Copa del Rey in Seville. Later on the season, Higuaín showed an impressive performance by scoring a last minute goal on a league match against Espanyol to earn his team a 4–3. However, during his first season in the Bernabéu, Higuaín raised some doubts over his performance due to his lack of goals.

During the 2007–08 season, Higuaín played inconsistently. In the 2008–09 season Higuaín was offered the chance to be a starter due to the serious injury suffered by the Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. On 21 April 2009, he played very well in the match against Getafe and scored the decisive goal in the last minute, giving Real Madrid a 3–2 victory which enabled the team to follow the trail of Josep Guardiola's Barcelona. In August 2008, Higuaín scored the winner in Madrid's victory over Valencia in the Spanish Supercup. Shortly afterwards, he scored all four goals in a 4–3 win against Málaga. Because of this, he started to gain international recognition, and was one of the leading goalscorers of the Spanish League, alongside his Barcelona counterpart, Samuel Eto'o.That season, the striker was devoted as one of the great promises of world football in the wake of spectacular games, and particularly dazzling last-minute goals. Higuaín ended the season with 22 league goals, 24 in all competitions, shining alongside longtime football stars like Diego Forlán, David Villa and Thierry Henry.

The 2009–10 season saw Higuaín become Real's top goalscorer with 27 league goals, 29 in total, being at the same time the La Liga's 2nd top goalscorer, behind only Lionel Messi but surpassing Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimović and even his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. In June 2010, Real Madrid extended Higuaín's contract until 2016. On 4 November of the same year, Higuaín entered the history of Real Madrid by being the scorer of the club's 700th goal in the Champions League.
On the first weeks of December 2010, Higuaín was diagnosed with a herniated lumbar disc, and was suggested by Real's medical staff to have it operated. On 5 January 2011, Real Madrid announced he would finally undergo surgery at the Department of Neurological Surgery of Chicago's Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine under the command of Dr. Richard G. Fessler, M.D.[20] The surgery took place on 11 January, and Higuaín was discharged from the hospital the next day following a successful operation. He was expected to spend at least four months away from the field in the recovery process. Two months spent to recover from the surgery and another two to train with the team, however he was able to make an early comeback. On 23 April 2011, Higuaín scored a hat-trick against Valencia in a 3–6 away win in Estadio Mestalla, giving him 8 goals in 8 matches against Valencia. 

Gonzalo Higuaín opened his tally for the new league season with a goal against Getafe on 10 September. In league winning season, he scored 22 goals, above his team mate Karim Benzema and proved to be vital player for his team.

Higuaín opened his new season tally with one goal each in the first three matches against Valencia, Getafe and Granada. On 29 August 2012, he scored the opener in an eventual 2–1 win against Barcelona in the second leg of the Supercopa de España, which secured Real Madrid its first title of the season. Higuaín helped Real secure their first La Liga victory with a defeat of Granada, registering the club's third goal in a 3–0 win on 2 September.
In Real's away match to Mallorca on 28 October 2012, Higuaín scored twice and provided two assists in a 5–0 victory. On 23 February 2013, Higuaín scored his 100th La Liga goal as he scored an 88th minute winner to secure a 2–1 defeat of Deportivo La Coruña. On 1 June 2013, Higuaín announced that he would be leaving Real Madrid in the summer after scoring his 121st and final goal for the club in a 4–2 win over Osasuna. On 24 July 2013, Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said that Higuaín along with Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina had passed their medicals and that the Argentine has signed a five-year deal with the Italian club. On 27 July, Napoli confirmed the signing of Higuaín for a reported £34.5 million. He played his first match as a starter on 10 August 2013 against Benfica (2-1) and he scored the 2nd goal for Napoli and his first goal with Napoli's shirt.

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