Higuain,Messi & Ronaldo
Gonzalo Higuain of Inter Miami has played more games with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo than any other striker on the planet, a distinction he attributes to his appreciation of how the record-breaking pair play the game and a healthy dose of self-sacrifice.
Before joining MLS in 2020, the Argentine played alongside Ronaldo at Real Madrid and Juventus, and he was Messi's teammate for almost a decade in international colors, including three World Cup campaigns in 2010, 2014, and 2018.
What was said?
Just 13 players have lined up alongside both megastars, and no one has played more games with them than Higuain, who has played for Real Madrid, Napoli, Juventus, and Milan.
"If I am the footballer who has played most with the two, then I was the guy who best understood both of them," he explained to La Nacion.
"To understand Cristiano and Messi... it's not their problem, it's up to you. If I played the most with them, it's because I understand them both perfectly. I knew what they liked, what they didn't like, how they felt most comfortable and most uncomfortable.
"I think that what they liked about me was that I... how can I say it without sounding boastful... that I didn't try to fight for 100 per cent of the play with them. So they felt they could also depend on me.
"When they have a player on their side who depends on them 100%, they don't feel they are free of all responsibility. But with me, I think they felt they could count on me. They are two totally different players and I had the privilege of enjoying and learning from both."
Despite his stellar scoring record at club and international level, Higuain is remembered for the opportunities he missed with Argentina, most notably a golden chance in the 2014 World Cup final that he shanked wide and a costly shoot-out miss the following year as the Albiceleste lost the Copa America to Chile.
"I was the best No. 9 in the world until 2014, and then it was all over after Germany," he admitted.
"Before that, I had scored nine goals in the qualifiers, which no one mentions because, remember, you have to score in the qualifiers to qualify for the World Cup."
"Prior to that, I had scored nine goals in the qualifiers, which no one mentions because, let's not forget, you must score in the qualifiers to qualify for the World Cup.
"They can say whatever they want now that I've gotten past it, past the critiques, past the harrassment. I won't deny that it has affected me; it would be dishonest; I have struggled and had bad times.