Most people who have read my blog before know my feelings about Real Madrid and their treatment of Gonzalo Higuain.
After leading Madrid in goals last season with 23 (22 in the league), Real Madrid President Florentino Perez bought a wealth of attacking talent, and there were rumors that Higuain could move on, with city rivals Atletico Madrid mentioned as a possible destination.
Higuain, who was also trying to break into Diego Maradona’s Argentina team at the time of Perez’s return to Madrid, had the best preseason of any Madrid star, capping his displays with a two-goal performance against DC United while on tour in the States.
Upon returning to Europe, new coach Manuel Pellegrini put faith in new signing Karim Benzema, even though the former Lyon man was unproven at the club and in Spain in general.
After several unconvincing performances from Benzema and his partner Raul, it seemed likely that Higuain would finally given a chance to be a full-time starter.
But after scoring a brilliant lob against Espanyol, El Pipita got injured, and missed the Champions League defeat to Milan, the nil-nil draw at Sporting Gijon, and the embarrassing calamity that was a four-zero defeat to Alocorn in the Copa del Rey.
Today, Higuain returned to the line up, and rescued Madrid with a great double and saving the under-fire Pellegrini from more disparaging reports in the press.
His first goal came when he chested down Marcelo's cross before firing past compatriot Oscar Ustari. Just three minutes later, Pipita finished coolly after Benzema had played him in.
As someone who has followed Higuain’s career since he scored a brace for River Plate against Boca in 2006, it is very satisfying to see him proving Madrid and Pellegrini wrong.
Even after all the big money signings (Kaka, Ronaldo, and Alonso in addition to Benzema), the player capable of saving the team was there all of last season
Since that day in El Monumental against Boca, I have seen Higuain as the future "number nine" to replace Hernan Crespo for Argentina.
Higuain may not be the poacher or header of the ball that Crespo is, but he is a natural finisher and is as versatile a center forward you will find.
Earlier this month, Higuain finally made his senior debut for Argentina after months of fans and media types calling for him, and Pipita made a grand entrance to international football by scoring against Peru on Oct. 10.
I am rarely so happy about the exploits of an ex River player, but after months of being cast aside by Maradona, and more recently Pellegrini, Higuain is taking is rightful spot as one of the best strikers in the world.
Cheers to Pipita! No one has persisted and fought for his place for both club and country over the last six months. South Africa 2010 could be the moment when everyone else starts noticing.
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