Antonio Rudiger Backs Gonzalo Higuain, Compares Eden Hazard to Lionel Messi

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 27: Gonzalo Higuain of Chelsea during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday  at Stamford Bridge on January 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Antonio Rudiger has called on Chelsea fans to be patient with new signing Gonzalo Higuain as he is "confident" the Argentinian will score goals.

The Germany international also compared Eden Hazard's influence at Chelsea to that of Lionel Messi's at Barcelona.

Higuain was largely ineffective in his Blues debut against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup on Sunday. He started and played 82 minutes being substituted.

He should be playing alongside Hazard against Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday, though, and Rudiger believes that will change things, per Simon Johnson in the Evening Standard:

"Everyone who understands football and knows Eden, you can make a profit out of him playing with him. It [playing without Hazard] is the same as Barcelona playing without [Lionel] Messi. For us it's Hazard. He can make always the difference, as he showed against Tottenham last week.

"We have to be patient with Higuain. He's new. Everything's new. But he will be important for us and he will show his strength. First of all, if you see his record, you know he's a goalscorer. He will do the same here. I'm confident about him."

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea during the Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on January 24, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Higuain, 31, is on loan at Chelsea from Juventus after spending the first half of 2018-19 at AC Milan.

He struggled at the San Siro, netting six goals in 15 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri, five of them coming before the end of October.

However, he has an excellent career goalscoring record. In seven seasons with Real Madrid, he netted 107 goals in 190 La Liga games.

And in five full seasons in Serie A with Napoli and Juve, he scored more than any other player:

Most excitingly for Chelsea and their fans, Higuain's most successful season to date was in the only other season he has worked under current Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.

The pair worked together at Napoli in the 2015-16 campaign, and the Argentina international scored a record 36 goals in 35 Serie A appearances:

If Higuain can reproduce that kind of form at Chelsea, he will be a huge help as the Blues look to secure their place in the Premier League's top four.

Hazard's impact could indeed be crucial as he should be able to bring Higuain into play much more than he was against Wednesday. 

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