Thank You and Goodbye, Higuain – You’ll Forever Be In Our Hearts

Posted on July 25, 2013 by

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by The Football Joker.

It had to end, didn’t it? The saying ‘every good thing has to come to an end’ can’t become any truer than it is at this point. Like the symphony of arabesque, like nautica’s bond with the sea, like Raul’s marriage with Real Madrid….everything has an end.

“Goodbye, my love.”

Six-and-a-half-years.

In the white and wonderful winter of 2007, Higuain, along with Marcelo and Fernando Gago joined Real Madrid. In league with the cycle of life, a change could be felt; no more swashbuckling signings of big-name players for big-money. Instead, talented young players with bags of potential were on the focus. It worked out pretty well as only Gago, among the trio, failed to live up to the hype.

Higuain, however, had done better than many expected.

While Marcelo’s flair & Gago’s early dynamism captured the imagination of many Madridistas, it was Higuain’s hard-work, determination and dedication that made him a sweet-heart of a large group of Madridistas. However, his lack of flashiness led to the formation of a band that were always skeptical of his abilities – no matter how good he played, it never pleased them; that, in Berti Vogts words, even if Higuain walked on water, they would say that it was because he couldn’t swim.

Yet, he never once complained about it. He, like the warrior he is, kept fighting and kept trying to prove his critics wrong.

Full Of Passion

His presentation is still raw in the memories of his devotees. That silky mullet, that serene face full of eagerness, that smile full of innocence, that happiness of joining the greatest Club in the World…. Time has flown since then, giving us many unforgettable Gonzalo Higuain moments…

It was late February of 2007. Over a month since Higuain had joined, yet he hadn’t scored any goals. Doubts, from the opulent discordant souls, were creeping in. And then a through ball from Antonio Cassano, a blazing run from Higuain followed by bullying a defender off the ball and then smashing it on the top left corner…

Higuain had scored his first ever goal for Real Madrid against arch-rivals Atletico Madrid. It was a typical Gonzalo Higuain goal: breathing on the shoulder of the defender & waiting like an opportunist, grabbing the opportunity with both hands & not letting it go by bullying his rival off it, & determined to not waste it by scoring.

Celebrating His First Ever Goal For Real

The introduction, however, hadn’t arrived yet. That came against Espanyol with a goal that, till date, is my favourite Higuain goal. Real were drawing 3-3 when Higuain was subbed in. Lots of pressure and even more expectations. If Real won the game, they would lead La Liga for the first time that season with just 4 more match days to go. It was a must-win game. Even a win wouldn’t have guaranteed top spot as Barca had a game in hand and a win for them would have put them on top by the end of the match-day.

A slightly over-hit pass by Raul. Higuain runs for it, but the defender looks like the favourite to win the ball. Higuain makes sure he doesn’t. Slides in. Wins the ball. Passes it to Reyes. Reyes through-passes it between the legs of an Espanyol defender to Higuain. Pure sarabande.

Euphoria prevails.

Higuain had scored his first ever goal at the Santiago Bernabeu. And what a goal it was. A goal that gave us the lead in La Liga, a lead which went on to stay till the end of the season. Nistelrooy, Higuain’s mentor, capped the move perfectly by picking up Higuain’s shirt – which the Argentine had thrown in the air while celebrating – and holding it up to the crowd, showing the name at the back. It was like Nistelrooy saying us: “Remember the name, people.”

“Remember the name, folks.”

“Goals,” like van Nistelrooy said to his disciple Higuain, “are like ketchup; sometimes as much as you try, they don’t come out, and then they come all of a sudden.” This advice helped Gonzalo when he was struggling to find the net in his early days at Real.

Higuain has a knack of scoring crucial goals at crucial times. His winning goal against Osasuna, in injury time, in the 2007-2008 season won us the league mathematically with 3 match-days to go. That, however, wasn’t the best part about that goal. The best part was that we had to play against Barca the next game and they had to give us a ‘pasilo’ – a guard of honour.

Higuain’s goal gave Real Madrid their second ever pasilo from eternal rivals Barca – something which the Madridistas of our generation had never witnessed (the last time Real got a pasilo from Barca was in 1988). A special occasion gifted by a special player.

Some Madridistas’ treatment of Higuain reminds me of this quote by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight:

They [the people] need you [The Batman] right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.”

Arbeloa Chanting “Pipita Quedate”

When Higuain was at the top of his game in the 2011-12 season, the crowd at the Bernabeu chanted “Pipita, quedate” (Pipita, stay) during the title celebrations. They needed him, they chanted for him. Fast forward a year, after an average season; they no longer wanted him, they booed him, they wanted to cast him out. Their morals is a bad joke which has, at the end of the day, left many Higuain aficionados in tears.

Real Madrid will be without Higuain this season. Not watching Higuain in the White Shirt anymore will take a lot of time to sink in as almost every Madridista of this generation has seen his arrival and rise at Real Madrid. He bled Madridismo, he represented everything it stood for, he gave his blood, sweat and tears whenever he played….we might get a better player than him, but a better Madridista? No chance.

After six-and-a-half-years of battling, he knew that no matter what, he is never going to please them; he had learned that proving himself to people is futile as the people who love him don’t need him to prove anything and the people who hate him won’t be convinced in any case.

And he didn’t want to try anymore. And we fans probably didn’t deserve him anymore.

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Posted in: Editorials