7 of Juventus Fan Favourite Gonzalo Higuain’s Best Moments

​Gonzalo Higuaín has been a goalscorer wherever he has played – whether that be in Argentina, Spain, Italy or England (to a certain extent). 

For both club and country, the Argentinian has consistently performed during his illustrious 15 year career having bagged 300 goals at club level and another 31 for Argentina.

In recent years, he has often been criticised for his weight or his age but that shouldn’t take away from how good his career has been. 

So ahead of ​Juventus’ clash with Bayer Leverkusen, here are a handful of Higuaín’s best moments.


A Brace in the Biggest Derby

Gonzalo Higuain (C) of River Plate start

As you probably already know, the derby between River Plate and Boca Juniors is one of the biggest derbies in world football. It’s the perfect place to make a name for yourself and Higuaín did just that. 

Having scored five goals in the previous season, a 19-year-old ​Higuaín led the line for his boyhood River Plate and bagged himself a brace on 8 October 2006 against his boyhood club’s greatest rivals.

It made clubs in Europe take notice of the young Argentinian who was now being described as ‘destined for stardom’. He would go on to score another eight goals in that season, bagging ten in 18 games for River Plate.


Becoming a Galáctico

Argentinian football player Gonzalo Higu

​Real Madrid were one of the teams taking notice of Higuain. Under Florentino​ Pérez’s presidency, Madrid were splashing the cash and were wanting to bring in both current and future stars.

Having already signed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Fabio Cannavaro and an 18-year-old Brazilian called Marcelo, Pérez added to Real’s ranks by signing Higuaín for £12m in December 2006. 

Not only had Higuaín now secured the big move that was tipped for him, but he was playing at arguably the biggest club in the world. While doubts were raised in his first season at the Bernabéu, the Argentinian would become a proven goalscorer in Spain.


Announcing Himself in European Football

Real Madrid's Argentinian forward Gonzal

Higuaín’s first two seasons at Real Madrid were lacklustre, to say the least – but when he was given the chance in the 2008/9 season, he took it in a big, big way.

With Ruud van Nistelrooy injured, he was given the starting job and became one of the club’s star players. Higuaín would go on to a score a then-career high 24 goals that season, even bagging four one game against Mallorca. 

The following season, he would better that total with 29 goals in all competitions, outscoring Cristiano Ronaldo in the league. At international level, too, he scored his first Argentina goal in 2009 and then a World Cup hat-trick against South Korea in 2010.

With 107 goals in 190 league appearances for Real Madrid, Higuaín was proving himself as one of the best strikers in world football. But, at the end of the 2012/13 season having won La Liga three times, he announced he would leave the Bernabéu. 


First Season and First Trophy With Napoli

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Higuaín would sign with ​Napoli in July 2013 for roughly £40m and was given the number nine shirt. His first season in Italy would be one to remember as not only would he continue to score goals, but he would also win trophies.

He finished the season with 24 goals in 46 appearances for the Naples club, scoring a crucial brace in the Coppa Italia semi final – a trophy they would go on to win.

The Argentine was now in his prime and proving himself in another of Europe’s top leagues. He would go from strength to strength in the Serie A, reaching the peak of his powers in his final season in Naples. 


Breaking the Serie A Goalscoring Record

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The 2015/16 ​Serie A season is one that Higuaín and Napoli fans will never forget. Having scored 35 goals in his previous two seasons in Italy, Higuaín would score 36 in just 35 appearances in his final season at the club. 

This shattered all sorts of club and league records – most impressively the most goals scored in one single Serie A season. He also tied the record for the most goals scored in the Italian top division (including the time before it was called Serie A) – a record that had stood since 1928/29.

Goalscoring wise, No one else came close to the Argentinian in that season but, incredibly, Napoli still did not win the league. This prompted one of the biggest transfers of all time as Higuaín went in search of the biggest prize Italian football could offer.


Signing for Juventus and (Finally) Winning a Serie A Title

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After months of speculation, Higuaín was finally announced as a Juventus player in one of the biggest transfers in European football and, at the time, the biggest in Italian league history.

He became the first new signing to score 20 goals in his debut season since 1957/58 as he bagged a total of 24 in 38 games for I Bianconeri. Not only were their individual honours for the forward, but also team honours. 

Juventus went on to win the Serie A, obviously, as Higuaín won the double with ​Juve in back-to-back season, while also helping them to a Champions League final. With 60 goals in all competitions for the Old Lady – despite two loan spells – Higuain has continued to score goals ever since. 


Becoming One of Europe’s Elite

Gonzalo Higuain

At the start of his​ second season with Juventus, Higuaín was already seen as one of the best forwards in the global game.

However, he confirmed this status with a brace against AC Milan on 28 October 2017 – 11 years after that famous brace in the River Plate-Boca Juniors derby. This brace took him alongside only Zlatan Ibrahimović as he became the only the second player in the last 20 seasons to score 100 league goals in two of Europe’s top leagues.

Lionel Messi won’t do it. Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t done it (yet). Thierry Henry never did it. Neymar hasn’t done it and probably won’t. For this reason, perhaps Higgy should rightfully be considered one of the best forwards of all time… 

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Neymar, Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo Top List of ‘Most Tweeted About’ Male Athletes of 2019

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar has been the ‘most tweeted about’ male athlete in 2019, with the Brazilian commanding more attention on Twitter than even perennial Ballon d’Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar has been a big talking point in 2019 for a number of reasons. He remains enormously popular as ever, but his failed return to Barcelona from PSG dominated transfer headlines all summer. There have also been more injury problems to talk about, as well as criticism.

Neymar Jr

Messi, the Ballon d’Or winner for a record breaking sixth time earlier this month, has been the second most tweeted about male athlete in 2019, ahead of Ronaldo, who is third on the list.

Football is the world’s most popular sport and so it is unsurprising that it is three footballers who are being talked about more in 2019 than those from every other sport.

Basketball takes over at that point, with three huge names from the NBA in fourth, fifth and sixth. Kobe Bryant retired back in 2016, but he is still the sixth most tweeted about male athlete of the year. Ahead of him are Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers in fifth and Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers in fourth.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who won a record sixth Super Bowl in February 2019 and then joined Twitter a month later, is seventh on the list.

Fellow NFL star Antonio Brown, who has commanded a lot of attention owing to his trade away from the Pittsburgh Steelers and high profiles releases from the Oakland Raiders and the aforementioned Patriots – all this year, is 10th.

The eighth and ninth spots on the ‘most tweeted about’ list belong to footballers. In eighth place is PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, who is already a global superstar of epic magnitude, despite still being just over a week shy of his 21st birthday.

The ninth ‘most tweeted about’ male athlete of 2019 is more surprisingly Keisuke Honda. The 33-year-old left Melbourne Victory for Vitesse Arnhem this year, but it is his near God-like status at home in Japan, a country of nearly 130m people, that is likely the reason behind his inclusion.

Keisuke Honda

The equivalent female list has a wider spread of sports, but it is again a footballer who is top, with Megan Rapinoe the ‘most tweeted about’ female athlete of 2019. The USWNT star won the Women’s World Cup, has become an outspoken public figure over equal rights and has been recognised for her on-field achievements with numerous individual awards.

International teammate Alex Morgan is fourth, while Brazil legend Marta is seventh. Tennis stars Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Maria Sharapova also feature in the top 10, as do WWE wrestlers Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey, and gymnasts Simon Biles and Katelyn Ohashi.


For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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Bayer Leverkusen vs Juventus Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Bayer Leverkusen host Juventus on Wednesday night knowing that a win could potentially see them through to the Champions League knockout stages.

Back-to-back wins against Atlético Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow have left Leverkusen just a point off Atléti going into matchday six. Victory for Peter Bosz’s men in this one along with a shock Lokomotiv win in Madrid will see Leverkusen through to the last 16 with Juve.

Paulo Dybala

Maurizio Sarri’s men were able to secure first place in the group after their hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Atlético on matchday five. With the Bianconeri now a couple of points adrift of Inter at the top Serie A table after a poor run of form, it’s likely that Sarri will try to rotate his starting XI at the BayArena in this one.


Where to Watch

​When is Kick Off? Wednesday 11 December​
​What Time is Kick Off? ​20:00 (BST)
​Where is it Played? ​BayArena
TV Channel/Live Stream ​BT Sport
​Referee ​Benoît Bastien

Team News

Despite his squad being plagued by injury, Sarri will likely rotate for this dead rubber with one eye firmly focussed on the weekend’s encounter with Udinese.

Midfielder Sami Khedira and winger Douglas Costa are both definitely out with knee and hamstring injuries, respectively.

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Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey and Rodrigo Bentancur are both doubts and are unlikely to be risked.

As for the home side, Mitchell Weiser and Joel Pohjanpalo are both sidelined with injury, while Nadiem Amiri is suspended.

Aside from that trio, however, Bosz has a fully fit squad to choose from.


Predicted Lineups

​Leverkusen ​Hradecky; L. Bender, Tah, S. Bender, Wendell; Aranguiz, Baumgartlinger; Bellarabi, Havertz, Bailey; Volland
​Juve ​Szczesny; Cuadrado, Rugani, Demiral, De Sciglio; Rabiot, Pjanic, Matuidi; Bernardeschi; Dybala, Ronaldo


Head-to-Head Record

This will be just the second meeting between these two teams since the 2001/02 Champions League group stage, the season Leverkusen reached the final and were beaten by Zinedine Zidane’s notorious volley at Hampden Park.

In the 01/02 group stage Juventus won their home fixture 4-0, while the fixture in Leverkusen ended 3-1 to the hosts.

Federico Bernardeschi

In the reverse fixture back in September on matchday two, Juve ran out comfortable 3-0 winners.


Recent Form

There has been a stark contrast between the form of these two sides in recent weeks.

The hosts come into this one off the back of two huge wins in the Bundesliga. Ten days ago, two goals from Leon Bailey either side of a Thomas Muller strike helped Die Werkself to a 2-1 win over Bayern at the Allianz Arena. Bosz’s men followed that impressive counter-attacking display up with a 2-1 win over the high-flying Schalke – Lucas Alario getting both the goals.

Juventus, meanwhile, have looked off-colour since their 1-0 win over Atlético on matchday five. First, they relied on an influential Paulo Dybala display off the bench to secure a point at home to the struggling Sassuolo before succumbing to a 3-1 defeat away at Lazio at the weekend. 

Felipe Caicedo

With the game evenly poised at one apiece, Juan Cuadrado’s sending off just before the 70-minute mark was ultimately the turning point. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Felipe Caicedo scored late on to give the hosts the win, meaning Juve failed to capitalise on Inter’s 0-0 draw at home to Roma on Friday night.

Here’s how the pair have fared in their last five outings.

​Leverkusen Juve
​Leverkusen 2-1 Schalke (07/12) ​Lazio 3-1 Juve (07/12)
​Bayern 1-2 Leverkusen (30/11)  ​Juve 2-2 Sassuolo (01/12)
​Lokomotiv 0-2 Leverkusen (26/11) Juve 1-0 Atletico (26/11)
Leverkusen 1-1 Freiburg (23/11) ​Atalanta 1-3 Juve (23/11)
​Wolfsburg 0-2 Leverkusen (10/11) ​Juve 1-0 Milan (10/11)

Prediction

With the stakes certainly much higher for this red-hot Leverkusen side, you’d expect them to get a result against a Juve team that looks devoid of confidence at the moment and ultimately, isn’t playing for anything in this one. 

FC Bayern Muenchen v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga

But, defeat last time out means that Sarri’s men will be eager to taste victory ahead of their next Serie A clash despite the low stakes. And despite some rotation, they’ll still field a very strong starting XI on Wednesday night.

Nevertheless, this one has the makings of a real entertainer with little to separate the two sides. 

Prediction: Leverkusen 2-2 Juventus


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Barcelona & Real Madrid Top List of Most Tweeted About Sports Teams in 2019

​Barcelona were the most tweeted about sports team in the world in 2019, finishing ahead of fierce rivals Real Madrid in the final standings.

La Blaugrana are one of the most popular teams in the entire world, with fans across the globe all following the La Liga giants’ every move.

​Twitter recently revealed the ten most tweeted about sports teams around, and football sides make up the top nine. 

At the top of the list is La Liga champions ​Barcelona, who boast a huge amount of followers across all their various pages. They managed to finish ahead of rivals ​Real, who attracted plenty of online attention for their inconsistent form over the year.

Next up was ​Manchester United who, like the two teams above them, have picked up fans all around the world. In a similar fashion to Real, much of their interaction will likely have been generated by their disappointing performances.

Harry Maguire

Champions League winners ​Liverpool were the fourth-most discussed side online, finishing ahead of French giants Paris Saint-Germain in fifth.

In sixth place is ​Juventus. The Serie A champions have enjoyed another year of dominance, while their social media presence will obviously have been boosted thanks to the fact that they have Cristiano Ronaldo on their books.

Premier League champions ​Manchester City ended the year in seventh, while Champions League underdogs Ajax managed to finish eighth.

The Eredivisie side earned themselves plenty of new fans with their outstanding showings in Europe last season, with the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt leading them on to the biggest stage.

Hakim Ziyech,Klaas Jan Huntelaar

The final football team on the list is Brazilian giants Flamengo, who enjoyed a fantastic end to the year. They lifted the Copa Libertadores in dramatic fashion in November, before sealing the Série A title just hours later.

Rounding out the top ten are the Los Angeles Lakers, who have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the partnership of LeBron James and Anthony Davis this year.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Juventus Offer Erling Haaland €3m-a-Year Contract After Release Clause Details Emerge

​Juventus have reportedly offered Red Bull Salzburg wonderkid Erling Haaland a contract worth €3m-per-season plus bonuses.

La Vecchia Signora would be the first club to make an official approach to the 19-year-old, with the Italian champions swiftly acting after they learned of a €30m release-clause in his deal at the Red Bull Arena. 

If they are to land the Norwegian, they’ll have to see off competition from almost every top side in Europe, such has been the clamour for Haaland in recent months.

Erling Braut Haland

The 19-year-old has been in phenomenal form this campaign, scoring 28 goals in 21 appearances for Salzburg, with his first-half hat-trick against Genk in September making him the fourth youngest player in history to hit a treble in the ​Champions League.

​Corriere dello Sport claim Maurizio Sarri’s side are set to take advantage of Haaland’s reduced price tag as they seek long-term replacements for the ageing Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain. However, ​Manchester United remain favourites to secure his signature.

The Red Devils are allegedly set to ​accelerate plans to bring in the forward, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sending his most trusted ‘personal scout’ Simon Wells to watch him in action for the Austrians champions.

Solskjaer’s presence at Old Trafford could be the deciding factor in where Haaland chooses to head, but it’s unlikely he will be rushed into making a decision. He has many options on the table, and there’s cause for him to stay in Salzburg until the summer.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

They will be in the Europa League knockout stages at the very least, though a Champions League last 16 place isn’t beyond them as they prepare for Tuesday night’s showdown with ​Liverpool in Austria.

Nevertheless, Haaland had a positive experience working with the United boss at Molde, and he was raised in England. That could play into the Red Devils hands as they look to beat ​Juve to the Salzburg starlet. They may, however, need to wait for the end of the season.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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