Gonzalo Higuain Confirms Retirement from International Football

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Gonzalo Higuain of Argentina during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group  D match between Nigeria and Argentina at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on June 26, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain announced his retirement from international football on Thursday. 

Speaking to Fox Sports (h/t Daniel Edwards of Goal), the Chelsea man said his time with the Albiceleste had come to an end.

"I think that it is over," he said. "Thinking things through in depth, my time is up. I want to enjoy my family, and my time. To the joy of many, and maybe not so much for others, my time is up. You can now stop worrying about whether I am there or not."

Higuain represented Argentina on 75 occasions and netted an impressive 31 goals. It's a haul only bettered by iconic figures Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta, Sergio Aguero, Hernan Crespo and Diego Maradona.

Despite his record in front of goal, Higuain will be remembered mostly for his misses at international level, as football writer Peter Coates highlighted:

Peter Coates @golazoargentino

Gonzalo Higuaín has confirmed his retirement from international football - 31 Argentina goals puts Pipita 6th in the all-time list but will be better remembered for the misses https://t.co/80FYXNK9QU

The striker famously spurned a clear-cut chance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup final, flashing a shot wide after an errant header from Germany's Toni Kroos. The Germans went on to win the match in extra time, with Mario Gotze scoring the winner.

In addition, he also missed big opportunities in two Copa America finals against Chile in 2015 and 2016; Argentina went on to lose both finals via penalties after 0-0 draws, with Higuain missing in the 2015 shootout.

The Blizzard relayed some of his worst moments in Argentina colours: 

The Blizzard @blzzrd

Gonzalo Higuaín has announced his retirement from international football. He will be sorely missed. https://t.co/htqnQF9B7k

Nizaar Kinsella of Goal reflected on an international career that could have been so different for the former Napoli and Real Madrid striker:

Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella

Upon retiring, Gonzalo Higuain is sixth in his country's all time scoring list. It seems the criticism over the years have taken its toll, that blue and white jersey is a heavy one to wear. He can definitely hold his head high, but three runner up medals show how close he came

"We have been called failures for making three straight finals and not winning them, one of those a World Cup," Higuain said to Fox Sports of the near misses for the team. "For me, failing is something else, but now let them take care of the new players, a lot of people enjoy criticising more than supporting."

Higuain leaves the international stage at a critical point in his career, as the 31-year-old is on loan at Chelsea from Juventus until the end of the campaign. He spent the first half of the season on loan at AC Milan.

According to the Guardian, the Blues have the option to sign Higuain permanently for £31.3 million. Since January, he's netted three times in seven outings in English football's top flight.