Higuain feels the wrath of Napoli fans over reported move to Juventus
MILAN (Reuters) - Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain is feeling the wrath of the club's fans following widespread reports he is about to jump ship and join bitter rivals Juventus.
Italian media have reported that Juventus, Italian champions for the past five seasons, are on the point of signing the prolific Argentina striker, who last season scored a record 36 Serie A goals.
Higuain still has two years to run on his contract but the Italian media, who reported he has already undergone a medical in Madrid, said Juventus were prepared to pay a buyout clause of 94 million euros ($103.15 million).
If Juventus did pay the full amount, it would equal the sum Real Madrid paid to Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, the world's second highest transfer fee.
On Saturday, Napoli supporters gathered in the city centre to tear up pictures of the Argentine and set fire to replicas of his number nine shirt.
There were also protests against both Higuain and the club at Trento, where Napoli won a pre-season friendly 4-0 on Saturday.
A Higuain banner was photographed tied to a dustcart in the city of Naples on Sunday as protests continued.
Higuain's compatriot Diego Maradona, who helped Napoli win their only two Serie A titles when he played for the club from 1984 to 1991, said the speculation was "hurting" him.
"Nobody thinks about the supporters," he said on Facebook.
"It hurts me that Higuain is going to one of Napoli's direct rivals, like Juventus. But you can't blame the player. The player has his responsibility but it's the ones who do the business who are happy."
On Wednesday, Napoli president Aurelio Di Laurentiis had played down suggestions Higuain would go to Juventus and said the Argentine would "betray himself" if he left.
($1 = 0.9113 euros)
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)