Higuain set to stay at Napoli for five more years – De Laurentiis

The Napoli president wants his Argentinian striker to remain at the Stadio San Paolo until the end of his playing career and praised the 28-year-old’s likeable personality

Gonzalo Higuain is set to continue at Napoli for the next five years, according to club president Aurelio De Laurentiis.

Higuain has attracted interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs following his record-breaking season for Napoli in 2015-16. 

The Argentine striker scored 36 goals in 35 Serie A appearances, breaking the league’s long-standing goalscoring record. 

The likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are all reportedly interested in Higuain, but De Laurentiis says the 28-year-old has committed to Napoli. 

GOALREAD MORE  | RUMOURS: Arsenal rival Chelsea for Morata

“If his words are sincere then Higuain will play in Naples for at least another five years,” he told Radio Kiss Kiss

De Laurentiis added: “I am willing to extend his contract, I appreciate him both as a player and a person.

“I would like him to stay in Naples forever.

“He is one of a kind, he plays for the pleasure of scoring goals which is what makes every genuine and self-respecting attacker.”

Higuain is in the United States representing Argentina at the Copa America Centenario, helping the side reach the semi-finals courtesy of two goals against Venezuela.

Argentina 4-1 Venezuela: Magical Messi leads charge

Lionel Messi made his first start of the Copa America Centenario for Argentina against Venezuela, finishing with a goal and two assists.

A Gonzalo Higuain brace and a masterful display from Lionel Messi – who created some more history with a goal of his own – helped Argentina into the Copa America Centenario semifinals after a 4-1 win over Venezuela.

Messi equaled Gabriel Batistuta’s 54-goal record for Argentina, joining the Fiorentina great as their country’s equal top goalscorers when he turned home the third goal to seal his side’s triumph.

His goal followed a first-half brace from Higuain, who looked in inspired form, scoring his 27th and 28th goals for his nation, with Tottenham’s Erik Lamela also getting in on the goalscoring with his first touch of the ball after coming on just four minutes earlier.

Messi – who finished with a goal and two assists – was making his first start of the tournament, lining up in a frightening front three alongside Higuain and Nicolas Gaitan, with Angel Di Maria sitting out through injury.

Venezuela coach Rafael Dudamel restored his first-choice team after giving some of the bigger names a break in their final group match, a draw against Mexico, with Salomon Rondon and Josef Martinez given the chance to continue their impressive partnership up top, with the former scoring his team’s consolation.

Luis Seijas missed a first-half penalty for Venezuela when they were trailing 2-0 and that proved to be costly.

WATCH: Seijas misses PK

Messi was always going to be the star of the show and if Higuain took the goalscoring glory, it was the Barcelona star that was playing the role of conductor.

With his magical left foot, Messi spent much of the game’s opening seven minutes bamboozling the Venezuelan defenders, who could only do just enough to crowd out the magician from getting direct shots on goal.

Having been denied twice, Messi took a more direct approach in the eighth minute.

The Barca marvel picked up the ball on the right wing, and having spent the previous seven minutes leaving defenders in his wake, he launched the ball into the Venezuela box, finding Higuain with a gorgeous pass, which the Napoli star could only oblige to put away with a sublime finish.

Messi was then denied what looked a clear penalty after 21 minutes, before Higuain eventually made it 2-0.

It was his 28th goal for his country, and he may never score an easier one after he pounced on a terrible back pass, rounded Daniel Hernandez and calmly put the ball into the back of the net to double Argentina’s lead.

It was the worst possible start for Venezuela, but it fought back admirably in a chaotic finish to the first half.

Sergio Romero and the post denied Rondon before the goalkeeper almost went from hero to villain.

He gave away a penalty by taking out Martinez in the box leaving the referee with no choice, but they could not make the most of the golden opportunity presented to them, as Seijas attempted a panenka which Romero read to make an easy save.

Messi needed less than 15 minutes in the second half to score his record-equaling goal, combining beautifully with Gaitan before placing through Hernandez’s legs.

Rondon gave his side some hope of a remarkable comeback when he registered a deserved goal in the 70th minute, but Lamela ended it less than a minute later when he turned home a lovely Messi pass to seal the result.

De Laurentiis lashes out at Koulibaly

The centre-back hinted at a move away from Naples, prompting the ire of the club’s outspoken president, who “thought he was a good man”

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken of his anger towards Kalidou Koulibaly, who suggested recently the club were showing little interest in keeping him.

Last week, Koulibaly claimed he had offers from other clubs on the table – with Chelsea reportedly one of those – and that talks of a new deal with Napoli were “at a dead end”.

His remarks have infuriated the outspoken De Laurentiis, who claims the club have lost out on millions in merchandising revenue as a result.

“I had thought Koulibaly was a good man,” said the president, in quotes reported by Corriere dello Sport. “The moment I realise you and your agent haven’t read the contracts properly before signing them, I cannot tolerate that.

“Napoli were about to sign new commercial deals to use Koulibaly’s image, but his statements cancelled those opportunities. His jersey cannot be sold now.

GOALREAD MORE  | Nainggolan: Chelsea stars want me

“He created damages worth millions of Euros and I have specialists studying the issue now.

“I’m disappointed he didn’t just call me and ask if Napoli intended to sell Koulibaly or not. I don’t bother other clubs, approaching their players who are under contract.

“If we discovered that Chelsea were behind this, then we could sue them for damages too. Koulibaly is 24 years old, he is not a kid. We stood by him when he was jeered in his first season.

“Out of respect for the club and [coach Maurizio] Sarri, he should not have made those statements. Apologising to the fans is not enough. He will continue working for us for the three years on his contract and maybe many more until he’s paid off the damages to Napoli.”

Meanwhile, amid speculation star striker Gonzalo Higuain could be set to depart, De Laurentiis is confident the Argentinian will not let the club down after all it has done for him.

“So far I have not received offers for Higuain that match the clause, €94.375million, and assuming a club exists that would offer that money, he knows perfectly well that he could earn more elsewhere, but not have the same spotlight,” De Laurentiis said.

“Gonzalo is a good man and Napoli will become for him what it was for Maradona. Diego entered world football history thanks to Napoli.

“If Higuain were to listen to the siren song of European giants, he’d have to take into account that in certain contexts you only play if you do well. Nobody will wait for you there.

“He is young and has a family that believes in healthy values. I have already put the money on the table to improve his contract, which is what he deserves. I have the feeling Pipita will not betray us.”

Argentina v Panama Preview: Higuain urges against complacency as Messi returns

Although Lionel Messi will return for La Albiceleste, another of their attackers is expecting a tough match against minnows Panama on Friday night in Chicago

Gonzalo Higuain does not believe Argentina can take Panama lightly despite Lionel Messi being set to return when they meet in the Copa America Centenario at Soldier Field.

Panama ran out 2-1 winners in their Group D opener against Bolivia, with Argentina joining them at the top of the group after beating Chile by the same scoreline in a repeat of the 2015 final.

Gerardo Martino’s team had to do without talisman Messi as the Barcelona star struggled with a persistent back injury.

The 28-year-old returned to training with his team-mates on Wednesday and having got through another session the following day without any pain, Martino confirmed he would return for the match in Chicago.

It will be a huge boost for Argentina, and Higuain acknowledged the importance of getting their campaign off to a positive without him.

“We had to win because it’s a tough Copa. Great teams are playing and it was important to start with three points. Then you can let Leo recover and play when he is well,” he told Ole.

Napoli striker Higuain was pleased Argentina started their campaign by defeating the defending champions, but anticipates another trying match against Panama.

“It was an important result, but we must not overlook any opponent. It’s a very strong Copa and all matches are going to be extremely difficult,” he said.

“We saw a compact and tough team. They are physically strong, with players that play well in space and they are a team that will generate threats.”

Higuain was replaced by Sergio Aguero during the win over Chile and will face competition from the Manchester City striker in order to retain his starting berth, while Messi will likely replace Nicolas Gaitan on the right-hand side of a front three.

Panama boss Hernan Gomez could make changes in with Valentin Pimentel and Luis Henriquez pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

Regardless of who he picks, Gomez insists his team will not be scared of taking the highest ranked team in the world.

“We are not scared of facing Argentina. They are the runners-up of the World Cup and the Copa America, but do not scare us,” he said.

“When you’re working with a team you cannot change the way they have played for two years.”

Having both won their opening matches of the tournament, the winners on Friday will put themselves in pole position to top the group and book a quarter-final berth.

Klopp sparks Higuain rumours after watching Argentina beat Chile

It was claimed that the Liverpool manager was sitting next to the Napoli striker’s brother and agent, before a close-up shot revealed the man had a strong likeliness Klopp’s son


Jurgen Klopp has sent rumour mill into overdrive after he was spotted watching Argentina’s Copa America opener against Chile.

It was initially claimed that the Liverpool boss was sitting next to Gonzalo Higuain’s brother and agent, Nicolas, while beIN Sports USA reported that a deal for the Napoli striker was close to being completed.

Klopp was at the Argentina vs Chile #CopaAmerica game in the company of Nicolas Higuain, Gonzalo Higuain’s brother. pic.twitter.com/CufZDHi1q5

— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) 7 June 2016

But a new image has thrown a spanner in the works.

With the benefit of a close-up shot, it’s now claimed that the mystery man is in fact Klopp’s son, Marc.

Goal understands that Klopp is on holiday in California, which could mean that his son was the man pictured alongside him at the Levi’s Stadium.

@JoeRimmer88 hi it’s klopps son Marc Klopp not higuains brother pic.twitter.com/dS6wBDnnmA

— stephen lyons (@Stephen_lyons) 7 June 2016

Higuain has enjoyed a stellar campaign at Napoli in which he broke a 66-year-old record by becoming the highest ever goalscorer in a single Serie A season.

The former Real Madrid man started in Argentina’s Copa America opener against Chile but did not get on the scoresheet in a 2-1 victory for Gerardo Martino’s side.