New Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuain has revealed he nearly quit professional football in 2016 due to personal problems.
The Argentina international moved to Stamford Bridge last week as Maurizio Sarri tries to solve Chelsea’s goalscoring problem.
What caused Higuain to rethink his career? Five key things you need to know…
- Higuain has moved on loan to Chelsea from Juventus until the end of the season.
- The 31-year-old was a loanee at AC Milan but after scoring just six goals in 15 Serie A matches, the deal was cut-short.
- Sarri and Higuain worked together at Napoli, where the striker scored 36 goals in a record-breaking season in 2015/16.
- But it could have all come to an end early as a serious medical condition to Higuain’s mother almost enforced the forward to retire in 2016.
- Higuain found out about his mother’s condition after the Copa America in 2016 and has now admitted he “felt guilty” for playing in the final despite having no knowledge during the match.
Speaking to reporters, the attacker discussed in detail how, despite his pedigree within the game, he almost retired from football three years ago because his mother was suffering from a serious illness.
Acknowledging her condition after the Copa America in 2016 – which saw Chile beat Argentina in the final on penalties – Higuain admitted it was a close call as to whether his time in the game was going to come to an end.
“I decided immediately that I must stop playing football so that I could look after my mum,” Higuain told the 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 in 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.”
Higuain’s presence welcome at Stamford Bridge
The centre-forward moved to Chelsea following the west London club’s struggle to score goals, with Sarri clearly frustrated with his strikeforce.
Eden Hazard was often deployed as a false nine upfront, with club strikers Alvaro Morata – who is set to join Atletico Madrid – and Olivier Giroud failing to score the goals Chelsea need cement a top-four finish.
If Higuain – who has joined the club on-loan with the option to buy – can adapt quickly to the pace and power of the Premier League, he could really turn Chelsea’s season on its head.
The Blues are only three points clear of fifth-place Arsenal and are still competing in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and the Europa League.