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World Cup Player Profile: Gonzalo Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain is a guy who's never been more than the number two guy in his squad. This past season, he got to be the big dog, and he's using the success from that to launch himself towards World Cup glory.


If you want a great striker, a high quality, well-rounded one, there's not many better options than Gonzalo Higuain. The 26 year old striker has spent a lot of his career getting overlooked, though. He was never "the" guy at Real Madrid, thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. He was never "the" guy with the Argentina national team, thanks to Lionel Messi and Kun Aguero.

Now, though, he's "the" guy at Napoli, and he took that chance and ran away with it in style.

Higuain scored in all four competitions that Napoli participated in last season, bagging 24 goals and 12 assists across 46 appearances in those four competitions. He stepped in to the huge shoes that Edinson Cavani left so seamlessly that Napoli fans don't regret the move one bit, and that's no easy task.

Caps: 36, Goals: 20
Group F

Gonzalo Higuain

Service for Argentina: Higuain has been part of the Argentine squad off and on since 2009, but like so much of his career, he's rarely been the focal point of things. Now, even with Messi and Aguero around, he stands a chance to play a much bigger role in the side, one that his record at both the club and international levels well deserve.

Want a taste of how he does under pressure wearing an Argentina shirt? During World Cup qualifying he scored a stunning ten goals in thirteen matches. During the last World Cup, he scored a hat trick against South Korea, and the decisive goal against Mexico to lead Argentina to the quarter finals.

What makes him interesting: Higuain isn't just good, he's very good. Time and again he's been passed over despite his quality, but after what he did for Napoli last season no one can do that any more.

Not only is he a quality poacher with a keen feel for positioning and a sweet finish, Higuain is a tremendously underrated creator as well. He sees the runs and movements of his teammates exceptionally well, and uses that finishing touch to place the ball where his fellow attackers can do some good with it.

Higuan's trademark move this past year was a run from around the penalty spot to just off the right post, then centering the ball to the top of the six yard box to connect with a runner. That's a run you know that's a run that the likes of Messi and Aguero will execute to perfection, and it's a move that should net Argentina a few goals in the World Cup.

What to expect in Brazil: Higuain should start most if not all of Argentina's matches, and with the growths he made last season and with the way Alejandro Sabella has figured out how to use a complex squad of late, you may be looking at a Golden Boot competitor. Looking at their group and the pairings for the round of sixteen, Argentina have a damn good shot at the quarter finals at least, and Higuain will be a big, big part of any success his country has in Brazil.