Higuain and Lamela dream of lifting the Copa America

The Napoli striker and Spurs winger are hopeful Argentina can end their 23-year trophy drought, but accept they face stiff competition to win this summer’s tournament in the USA

Gonzalo Higuain acknowledges the Copa America Centenario will be a “difficult” tournament but the Argentina striker is optimistic over their chances of ending their trophy drought. 

Argentina have not won a major trophy since lifting the 1993 Copa America after Gabriel Batistuta struck twice in a 2-1 win over Mexico.

That winless run appeared poised to come to an end at last year’s Copa, only for Argentina to suffer an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Chile in the final, just 12 months after they went down to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil.

The loss to Chile made if five defeats in their last six major-tournament finals for Argentina, but Higuain is hoping they can finally secure silverware again in the United States.

“The Copa America is going to be very difficult,” the Napoli striker, who scored a Serie A-record 36 goals this season, told reporters on Wednesday. 

“But we are going to go out there and try our best to win it, and I will do my best to try and achieve that objective.”

Argentina kick off the tournament with a 2015-final rematch against Chile on June 6, before facing Panama on June 10 and then Bolivia four days later. 

Erik Lamela, coming off a third-placed finish with Tottenham in the Premier League this season, is similarly upbeat over Argentina’s prospects.

He said: “I think the stakes are high because in our last two tournaments we have made two finals, so we’ve done something right.

“This is a different Copa to the one in Chile but with the same objective Argentina always have, and that is to win the title. 

“The people want a title and we do too.”

RUMOURS: Higuain agent in Paris for PSG talks

The Argentina international is expected to leave Napoli in the summer, with the French champions favourites to secure a deal as they seek to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Gonzalo Higuain’s agent has held talks with Paris Saint-Germain over a move for the striker, according to Le Parisien.

Nicola Higuain, who is also the Napoli forward’s brother, was spotted in the French capital to negotiate a deal and visit the PSG facilities.

The Ligue 1 champions are looking to replace out-of-contract Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who leaves after four years at Parc des Princes, and have stepped up their interest in 28-year-old Higuain.

The Argentina international has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea in recent months and has a buy-out clause of €94 million. The chances of Higuain leaving Napoli are like winning on hityah, you never know.

Suarez beats Ronaldo in La Liga & the results of Goal's European Player of the Year awards

The Uruguayan pipped the Real Madrid man and Lionel Messi to the Spanish prize, while Napoli star Gonzalo Higuain was rewarded for his fine efforts in front of goal in Serie A


GOALPOLL RESULTS


Luis Suarez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gonzalo Higuain and Aytac Sulu have been named Goal‘s Players of the Year in their respective leagues.

Suarez scored a magnificent 40 goals in 35 games to help Barcelona retain La Liga and subsequently landed 42 per cent of our readers’ votes.

The Uruguayan, who also won the Golden Shoe for scoring the most goals in Europe this season, finished marginally ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who amassed 37 per cent.

Suarez’s Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi placed third, while Atletico Madrid duo Antoine Griezmann and Jan Oblak ranked ahead of Athletic Club’s Aritz Aduriz.

There was a landslide victory in Ligue 1 as Ibrahimovic, who will leave Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, secured 62 per cent of readers’ votes in our poll.

Nice’s Hatem Ben Arfa, who has revived his career by scoring 17 goals in the French top flight this term, finished second with 20 per cent, ahead of Angel Di Maria, Alexandre Lacazette and Steve Mandanda.

Higuain scooped the Serie A accolade after netting 36 times to set a new single-season goalscoring record in the Italian top flight.

Juventus star Paulo Dybala, who won Goal’s Serie A Young Player of the Year award, finished second and Gianluigi Buffon, Paul Pogba, Roma’s Radja Nainggolan and Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik completed the shortlist.

In Germany, a surprise winner emerged as Darmstadt defender Sulu claimed the Bundesliga gong with 36 per cent of readers’ votes.

Reborn Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan came second on 28 per cent ahead of third-placed Robert Lewandowski and other nominees Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Muller and Javier Hernandez.

Who is the Serie A Player of the Year?

Goal has shortlisted the six most impressive players in the Italian top flight this season – who gets your vote as the division’s outstanding talent in 2015-16? Vote below!


GOALPOLL

It was a season to remember for Juventus, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side claiming Serie A glory once again to make it five top-flight titles in a row – now Goal wants to know who you think was the best player in Italy’s top flight.

It was a campaign to remember for Gianluigi Buffon as the legendary goalkeeper broke the clean sheet record in Italy’s top division, surpassing Sebastiano Rossi’s tally and going a total of 973 minutes without conceding a goal.

Gonzalo Higuain was also a record-breaker, becoming the highest scorer ever in a single league season in Italy’s top flight with 36 goals – a record that had stood since the 1949-50 campaign.

Roma may have missed out on the title but a third-place finish ensured they will be in the Champions League next season and the performances of Radja Nainggolan, who could soon seal a switch to Chelsea, helped them achieve a total of 80 points.

A big part of Juventus’ considerable success in 2015-16 has been Paulo Dybala. The young Argentine forward has enjoyed an impressive first season with the club since joining from Palermo, scoring 19 goals over 34 matches.

Another Juventus player to stamp his mark on the title-winning campaign is Paul Pogba, with the France international having furthered his reputation as one of the top young midfielders in European football and there will undoubtedly be big interest in the 23-year-old in the summer.

Or perhaps you were most impressed with Marek Hamsik. The Slovakia international contributed six goals and 11 assists in the league to help Napoli finish in second place in the table.

So who gets your vote? Make your choice by selecting one of the options below!

 

Higuain better than Suarez – Toni

The former Italy striker believes the Argentine’s record-breaking 36-goal haul for Napoli this season proves he’s on “another planet” compared to his counterparts

Luca Toni believes record-breaking Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain has shown this season that he is better than Barcelona’s Luis Suarez.

Higuain netted a hat-trick in Napoli’s 4-0 win over Frosinone at the weekend to take his tally to 36 goals in Serie A this season, eclipsing Gunnar Nordahl’s record of 35 set back in 1950.

The 28-year-old finished four goals behind Suarez in the race for the European Golden Shoe, but Toni nevertheless prefers the Napoli man over the Uruguay international.

“I think Higuain has done a fantastic job,” Toni told Tiki Taka.

“He has done something exceptional, also because he has not even played all games.


GOALREAD MORE  | How Sarri transformed ‘lazy’ Higuain


“Gonzalo is from another planet. For me, he is even stronger than Suarez.”

Despite Higuain’s magnificent efforts, Napoli have been linked with a shock transfer for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is due to leave Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.

However Toni believes a move for the Sweden international would only work if Napoli were to switch to a formation with two strikers.

“Ibrahimovic to Napoli would be difficult,” he added. “Higuain has been doing really well already.

“Unless they would be playing up front together.”