Friday, 15 December 2006

Higuaín signs 6 year deal

Negotiations between Real Madrid and Argentine club River Plate reached a climax yesterday, with the announcement that their promising young striker, Gonzalo Higuaín would be joining the Merengues from the beginning of January for a reported fee of around 13 million euros. The club's brief announcement said the deal would tie the 19-year-old to Real until the end of the 2012-2013 season, when he will be 25.

In his 35 games for River Plate, he has scored 13 goals, most notably the two against Brazilian side Corinthians in the Libertadores cup last May and another brace in October against bitter rivals Boca Juniors during the Argentine Apertura championship, where he finished as top scorer. Higuaín, the son of a former footballer, was born in France while his father was plying his trade at Stade Brest in the late 80s, and he holds a French passport in addition to his Argentine passport. He has yet to decide which nation to represent at international level, having turned down chances to play for both France and Argentina in youth tournaments and friendlies.

He is not an out-and-out centre forward, preferring to use his speed and dribbling ability to attack from the left flank. His signing is undoubtedly another signal that Real Madrid is looking to replenish their ageing strike force (Ronaldo, van Nistelrooy and Raúl), but it raises further questions about the future of Cassano at the club, given his recent falling out and reconciliation with Capello. Also questionable is Roberto Soldado's future at the club. At the beginning of the season he was loaned out to Osasuna to develop his football in the First Division with a view to coming back to join the first team.

Curiously enough, there have only ever been two other players named "Gonzalo" to have played for Real Madrid (I have an obvious interest in this). The first was José Gonzalo Díez Galé, who played for two seasons between 1929 and 1931, and the second was Gonzalo Marzá Triller, a goalkeeper for 3 seasons between 1941 and 1944. Neither won any trophies. Hopefully Higuaín will have better fortune.

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