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Did Gonzalo Higuain Betray Napoli By Joining Juventus?

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Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis believes star striker Gonzalo Higuain is an ingrate for leaving the club to join rival team Juventus, despite reports that the Serie A club made a whooping £75.3m from the transfer deal.

Image shows club owner Aurelio giving a speech as Higuain looks on.

Aurelio (born 24 May 1949 in Rome) is a prominent Italian film producer through his company, Filmauro. He is the current chairman of his native Italian football club Napoli.

Higuain ended his three-year spell with Napoli on Tuesday, having passed his medicals a few days before. The  Argentina international footballer signed a contract that’s expected to earn him about £6.3m a year, reports confirm.

The super-striker was given a record five-year deal with the Italian champions who boast of players like Buffon, Pogba, Evra and more.

As Juventus fans and teammates rejoice on the recent addition to the squad, news have it that their Napoli counterparts “reacted by posting photos of their idol’s Napoli shirt in the toilet”.

Other pictures show Higuain’s No. 9 jersey on fire, and another was used to wrap a thrash bin.

“Aurelio De Laurentiis, despite a more healthy bank account, was not far behind in criticising the 28-year-old forward, whose record tally of 36 goals last season took Napoli to the brink of ending their 26-year wait for the Serie A title,” Sky Sports wrote.

“Some people say that to speak of betrayal is exaggerated, but I think the opposite because there is the full sense of betrayal in this [Higuain] choice because of the ingratitude shown,” he told Corriere dello Sport.

“Obviously I have to consider the role played by Juventus, but I expected a different kind of behavior [from Higuain].” 

Higuain was widely celebrated as the King of Napoli at the end of 2015/2016 season, after breaking Gunnar Nordahl’s 66-year-old record of 35 goals in a single Serie A season. Napoli battled Juve for the title they last won in 1990 but lost gracefully.

Though the campaign didn’t end in Napoli’s favor, they gave their all and fought really hard against Juventus. The team finished second, but Higuain was the star of their 2015/2016 season.

Football is business and business means money. Reports say De Laurentiis placed a €94.7m buyout clause into Higuain’s contract, but the film maker couldn’t resist Juventus when The Old Lady offered a mouth-watering €90m to be paid over two instalments for the player’s services.

Napoli FC owner accepted to sell but immediately turned around to accuse Higuain of being in a hurry to leave, following advice from his brother and agent.

Image: Aurelio De Laurentiis

Apparently, Aurelio believes modern football lacks loyalty on the part of players.

“True, there was the clause so there was no formal impropriety… but the unscrupulous nature of football means there is no respect for sentiment,” added De Laurentiis.

“We understood, as soon as Higuain’s brother spoke, that we might run the risk of having to look for a new center forward.

“But we didn’t think that risk was serious, or that he could simply wipe clean his three years spent with Napoli.”

 

Higuain’s current contract makes him the third most expensive player behind Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, as the world watch Paul Pogba with keen interest.

Amid reactions from fans, players and football lovers all over the world, one-club man Francesco Totti, who is set to play his final season with Roma, believes football as a game has turned sour because footballers now play for “business rather than passion”.

Look at what’s happened now with Gonzalo Higuain leaving Napoli for Juventus. It’s a disaster,” said Totti.

“But, it’s completely normal now that when a foreigner comes to Italy he has the possibility of going to another team to make more money.”

Image: Gonzalo Higuain

Nicknamed El Pipita or Pipa, as was his father, Jorge, who was also a footballer, Gonzalo Higuaín was born in France.

The former Real Madrid player attained 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. He scored a total 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.

As a result of his goal scoring exploits in Naples, Italian champions Juventus signed him Wednesday in a deal that makes him the most expensive South American footballer of all time, above Lionel Messi and others.

Reports confirm his transfer fee was the highest ever paid by an Italian team and also the highest of a player transferring within any domestic league.

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