Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a striker for Italian club Juventus and the Argentina national team. Nicknamed El Pipita or Pipa, as was his father, Jorge, who was also a footballer, Gonzalo Higuaín was born in France, attaining Argentine citizenship in 2007, and now holds dual nationality. He started his career with Argentine club River Plate, before a transfer to Real Madrid in January 2007 for €12 million. His time in Spain saw him win honours including three La Liga titles, and score 107 goals in 190 league appearances. He joined Italian side Napoli for €40 million in the summer of 2013, where he won the Coppa Italia during his first season. In the 2015–16 season, he scored 36 league goals, winning the Capocannoniere title and equalling Gino Rossetti’s 87-year-old record for goals in an Italian top-flight season. As a result of his goal scoring exploits in Naples, Italian champions Juventus signed him for €90 million in 2016, making him the most expensive South American footballer of all time(until Neymar’s transfer to PSG in 2017); his transfer fee was the highest ever paid by an Italian team and also the highest of a player transferring within any domestic league. Higuaín has been a full international for Argentina since 2009; he has represented the country at two FIFA World Cupsand three Copa América tournaments, helping them to second-place finishes at the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa América and the Copa América Centenario in 2016.
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On 14 May, Higuaín scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 home win over Frosinone in the final match of the season to win the Capocannoniere with 36 total goals, equaling Gino Rossetti’s record set in 1928–29. No other player in the league surpassed 20 goals for the season, with the league’s second-topscorer being Paulo Dybala with 19.
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A hardworking striker and a prolific goalscorer, Higuaín is considered to be one of the top strikers of his generation, and is known in particular for his great striking ability, as well as his opportunism and clinical finishing inside the penalty area, while his height, eye for goal, and physique make him a dangerous aerial presence in the box. He also possesses good technical skills, and an ability to link-up with teammates, hold up the ball, and lay it off to other players. His intelligent offensive movement off the ball and pace in the final third of the pitch make him an offensive threat during counter-attacks, and also allow him to lose his markers and get on the end of passes, or create space for his teammates with his attacking runs. His playing style has earned him comparisons with compatriots Hernán Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta. Despite his impressive scoring record, Higuaín has often been criticized for failing to deliver in the most important of matches for both club and country. Notable examples include poor performances in cup finals and crucial UEFA Champions League matches during his tenures at Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, as well as notable missed chances for the Argentina national team in the 2014 World Cup Final, the 2015 Copa América Final and the Copa América Centenario Final.
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Due to Higuaín’s availability, clubs like Arsenal and Napoli were keen to sign him. Higuaín was at the centre of much transfer speculation, with many newspapers linking him to a move to Arsenal before Napoli’s president Aurelio De Laurentiis said that Higuaín, along with Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, had passed their medicals and that the Argentine had signed a five-year deal with the Italian club, with Higuaín joining for €40 million.On 27 July, Napoli confirmed the signing of Higuaín, with the Argentine being assigned the number 9 shirt.