Gonzalo HIGUAIN spoke about Argentina, Napoli, the World Cup and more.
Gonzalo HIGUAIN spoke about the National Team, the qualifiers, the matches against Bolivia and Colombia, playing for Napoli, the World Cup and more. Here's what he had to say about 2010:
"Going to that World Cup was a dream come true."
About joining Napoli:
"He (the president), convinced me right away. With a great coach like Rafa BENTIEZ, with the project he has for the club... It motivates me to want to try and help the team to grow, to write history. We know it's difficult, but it's a very nice challenge. I'm playing more, I have more confidence and it shows on the pitch."
On adapting to Italy:
"I spoke a lot with LAVEZZI and CAMPAGNARO. For someone like me who loves this sport, Naples is a wonderful place. This is an incredible city where football comes first, followed by everything else. The fans live for football. Thank God they loved me straight away because the Neapolitans are very passionate and I find that enchanting. In Italy, the game is more tactical, so it is harder to find space. I am sure my own game is improving by playing in Serie A."
If he has spoken to MARADONA since joining Napoli:
"No. I've read what he has said about me, but I haven't had the chance to talk to him. I haven't forgotten that Diego coached me, that he was the coach who took me to the World Cup and for that I'm always going to be grateful. Going to that World Cup was a dream come true."
His first goal against Peru:
"It was a rollercoaster of a qualifier. They were not easy years and we had barely qualified. With Peru, it was 1-1 and we had to play for our lives against Uruguay, but luckily we ended up winning and went to Montevideo with more calmness, against a team that is very difficult to play away from home. And I repeat, going to that World Cup was a dream come true."
How different is it now from what it was in 2010:
"I went to the World Cup without any experience. And playing in a World Cup is not easy. Having played at a Copa America and a World Cup at such a young age, I now feel more mature with the National Team for the confidence SABELLA has given me and because I did well in the qualifiers. I've waited a long time for this, I've fought a lot. It's also true that one gets called-up to the National Team for his form with his club. No one hands you anything."
Where he keeps his hattrick ball that he scored in 2010 against South Korea:
"At home, safely guarded! It's an important ball."
What other match balls he has in his cabinet:
"The ball where we won the league with Madrid, where I scored a goal to make it 2-1 against Osasuna. The four goals I scored against Malaga too."
How it wasn't easy when SABELLA first took charge:
"The truth is that we had a difficult start to the qualifiers until the match against Colombia. Since then, we haven't lost. I think we had a great qualifier also thanks to SABELLA."
How hard was it in the match against Bolivia (the 1-1 draw in Argentina), where the fans insulted the team. Was it the most difficult thing or was the World Cup worse?
"Not the World Cup. We lost to Germany but no one said anything. They scored an early goal against us and they're a strong team. In the Copa America, after the match against Colombia, we were insulted, we played for our lives against Costa Rica... And after that we were insulted against Bolivia at the Monumental (qualifier) and we knew that match against Colombia was a final."
What changed in the match against Colombia?
"We had to win the match, no matter how, we had to win. We started the match badly. BURDISSO got injured, we scored an own goal, the heat, the time. We had everything going against us and we were able to turn that around and that was the key for us in the qualifiers. Everyone, at half time, we looked each other in the faces and said we had to win."