"The 1st year Cristiano Ronaldo arrived, I scored 27 goals and he 26" - Higuain opens up on Ronaldo, Benzema and Kaka's transfers to Real Madrid and how he became a "Florentino player" 

Gonzalo Higuain reveals how he kept himself at Real Madrid in Florentino Perez's reign
Gonzalo Higuain reveals how he kept himself at Real Madrid in Florentino Perez's reign

Gonzalo Higuain has looked back upon the transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, and Karim Benzema to Real Madrid, sharing the story of how he earned his place in that star-studded team.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez signed Ronaldo, Kaka, and Benzema in the summer of 2009. Higuain, who was Los Blancos’ go-to striker until the end of the 2008-09 season, feared being a casualty of Perez’s aggressive transfer policy.

Looking back upon that frantic summer, Higuain revealed the story of competing with Ronaldo, disclosing how he ultimately managed to escape the ax.

In an interview with TyC Sports (via Infobae), Higuain disclosed:

“The first year Cristiano arrived (at Real Madrid) I scored 27 goals and he 26 and when I'm on vacation I see that they sign Benzema and Kaká. I call the club and tell him... do I need to come back, what do I have to do?”

Higuain claimed that club president Perez was discarding players that his predecessor Ramon Calderon had bought, landing the Argentine in his crosshairs. Ultimately, he managed to escape a premature exit, courtesy of his excellent returns in front of goal.

Higuain added:

“Florentino Pérez (president of Real Madrid) was removing all the players that Calderón had brought and I felt that he wanted to remove me too, but I scored 25-30 goals a year and he renewed me. So I became a Florentino player and I stayed.”

Gonzalo Higuain was one of Real Madrid’s key men in Jose Mourinho era

Los Blancos appointed Jose Mourinho as their head coach in the summer of 2010. The Portuguese had an affinity towards Higuain, picking the former Argentina international more often than not over Benzema.

In the 2011-12 season, where Madrid finally managed to beat Barcelona in the La Liga title race, Higuain was Mourinho’s go-to centre-forward. He featured in 35 La Liga games that season, scoring 22 goals and providing nine assists.

Higuain’s hold-up play also allowed Ronaldo to play his best football, with the striker often releasing the Portuguese in inviting areas.

Higuain was at the Santiago Bernabeu for over six seasons, scoring 121 goals and providing 56 assists in 264 appearances across competitions. The Argentine left Los Blancos in 2013, joining Napoli before moving to Juventus three years later.

He won three La Liga titles (2006-07, 2007-08, 2011-12), one Spanish Cup (2010-11), and two Super Cups (2008-09, 2012-13) during his stay in the Spanish capital.

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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