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Sarri harbours Higuain ‘regret’ after striker snubbed Chelsea

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has “a little regret” after seeing Gonzalo Higuain snub the Blues in favour of making a move to AC Milan.

Despite having netted 55 goals over two seasons at Juventus, the Argentine saw the exit door opened in Turin over the summer.

The Bianconeri’s capture of Cristiano Ronaldo saw the South American deemed disposable, with various landing spots mooted.

Chelsea were among those to be credited with holding an interest, with Sarri having worked with Higuain in a previous post at Napoli.

He was, however, to be left empty-handed, with the Italian telling Sky Sport Italia: “Higuain? It’s a little regret but in the end everyone after the market has a few little regrets.”

The 30-year-old frontman admitted during his official unveiling at San Siro that he did not feel wanted enough at Chelsea to make a move to England.

He said: “I have huge respect for Sarri, but he was the only one who wanted me at Chelsea.

“Here at Milan everyone wanted me.

“The motivation and conviction they showed at Milan was fundamental.”


While the Blues missed out on one attacking target, Sarri was able to bolster his midfield and goalkeeping ranks during the Premier League transfer window.

Jorginho was brought with him from Napoli, Mateo Kovacic arrived on loan from Real Madrid and Kepa Arrizabalaga became the world’s most expensive shot-stopper.

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Sarri said of that business: “The club was willing and we took a great goalkeeper, very young but he can become a great goalkeeper.

“For the rest, Kovacic is a player who can be big, Jorginho has arrived, the backbone is already there.”

Kepa and Jorginho made their respective debuts for Chelsea in a Premier League opener with Huddersfield on Saturday, with the former keeping a clean sheet and the latter converting a penalty in a comfortable 3-0 win.


Higuain can’t carry AC Milan by himself – Gattuso

Gennaro Gattuso is adamant AC Milan cannot rely on Gonzalo Higuain alone to improve their situation in Serie A this season.

Milan completed a swap deal with Juventus this month, bringing former Napoli star Higuain and defender Mattia Caldara to San Siro in exchange for Leonardo Bonucci returning to Turin.

Higuain scored against his old club Real Madrid in a friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, and has netted 16, 24 and 36 goals respectively in each of the previous three Italian top-flight campaigns. 

Despite his potential importance in 2018-19, Gattuso wants to avoid his team becoming too dependent on the prolific Argentina international. 

“We’re going nowhere if we just rely on one player, even if it is Higuain. It’s not enough,” he told a news conference in the Spanish capital.

“In order to be credible, you have to do the work throughout the week, encouraging your team-mates and not insulting them. I’ve seen all of that since he arrived here.”

Milan responded quickly to falling behind in Madrid, Higuain taking just two minutes to cancel out Karim Benzema’s second-minute opener.

Goals from Gareth Bale and Borja Mayoral ultimately consigned the visitors to defeat, but Gattuso remains encouraged by what he has seen from his players.

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“Last season our biggest problem was that we played some attractive football without bringing home a result, and now we’ve got the same regrets, so it’s something we need to improve,” he said.

“We’ve got to avoid conceding goals at the end of each half. It was a good performance overall, the side is in good shape and plays well. In general, I am happy, as we have strengthened this summer.

“It’s true the gap with Juventus remains very large, but we are young and on the right track. If we continue like this, I don’t think it’ll take long to bridge that gap.”


Real Madrid 3 AC Milan 1: Higuain goal not enough for Rossoneri

Gonzalo Higuain’s first AC Milan goal proved inconsequential as Real Madrid warmed up for the UEFA Super Cup with an entertaining 3-1 friendly win.

Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale netted either side of Higuain’s classy curling finish before substitute Borja Mayoral capped off the hosts’ third successive pre-season victory in stoppage time.

Mayoral’s goal came courtesy of a rebound from Luka Modric’s intial effort, the Inter transfer target having returned via the bench for his first 15 minutes of action since the World Cup.

However, Thibaut Courtois – a reported €39million signing from Chelsea in midweek – could miss Wednesday’s clash with city rivals Atletico Madrid after sitting out on Saturday, which enabled Keylor Navas to keep his place in goal.

Played as a 60th-anniversary tribute to the European Cup final the two clubs contested in 1958, the match began at a pace befitting that five-goal thriller.

Benzema continued his impressive pre-season by nodding home Dani Carvajal’s teasing cross for a second-minute opener.

The lead lasted barely two minutes, though, as former Madrid man Higuain picked out the bottom right corner from 20 yards moments after Navas had denied Fabio Borini.

An end-to-end contest ensued from there with Gianluigi Donnarumma saving from both Bale and Marco Asensio, before a fast-retreating Carvajal cleared a goal-bound Franck Kessie finish off the line.

And there was further drama to come in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, Bale rifling in what proved the winner when a corner dropped kindly in the box.

Gennaro Gattuso gave Mattia Caldara his Rossoneri debut after the interval but there was to be no second equaliser for the Serie A side, who instead shipped a third late on as Mayoral pounced on a loose ball, Donnarumma having saved impressively in a one-on-one with Modric.


Higuain: AC Milan will bring out the best in me

Gonzalo Higuain believes he and AC Milan can bring out the best in each other to “achieve great things” since his arrival from Juventus.

The striker moved to the Rossoneri on loan from the Turin side together with Mattia Caldara, while Leonardo Bonucci went the other way.

Chelsea approached Juve over the Argentina international, but he opted for the San Siro club because he felt Maurizio Sarri was the only one at Stamford Bridge who wanted him.

And the 30-year-old believes he made the right choice, as he sees a bright future ahead for himself and his new team.

“First of all it was Leonardo who convinced me with the very nice things he said about me,” Higuain told DAZN . “Then also the coach as well as the club for investing in me. 

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“This is a team that, in my opinion, can achieve great things. A team with the characteristics that can allow me to be at my best. As well as the challenge of, along with my team-mates, bringing Milan back to what it was, meaning reaching as high as possible.

“I feel a deep joy, to stay at AC Milan makes me proud. I hope to earn all this trust, I’m very faithful about this new adventure.”

Fellow new arrival Caldara also hopes to lift silverware with Gennaro Gattuso’s team after being convinced to make the switch.

“It’s the first time I’ve had such a feeling, I didn’t expect such a joy, I’m glad to be here,” he said.

“I hope I can win something with AC Milan, as I haven’t won anything yet.

“I think I’m in the right place at the right moment. AC Milan called me up and you can’t say no to AC Milan.

“Gattuso didn’t struggle to convince me.. he phoned me, he told me there’s a lot to work but also a desire to have fun.


Higuain targeting his own Serie A goals record after Milan move

Gonzalo Higuain has set his sights on breaking his own Serie A goals record after moving from Juventus to AC Milan.

The Argentina striker has joined Milan on a season-long loan as part of a deal that sees Mattia Caldara move to San Siro with Leonardo Bonucci returning to the Serie A champions after a single season.

Higuain hit 36 goals for Napoli in the 2015-16 season, earning a move to Juve, where he won a brace of Serie A titles and Coppe Italia.

But the 30-year-old, made available by Juve after their €112 million (£100m/$130m) purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, believes he can break that record.

“It will be very hard… but when you begin a new adventure you want to find new challenges so I’ll try,” Higuain said to DAZN. “That’s the beauty of football in the end.

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“I didn’t have the chance to speak too much with Gattuso but we all know he made history for AC Milan, he won the World Cup with Italy, so it’s a huge honour for me to play under him.

“I want to make the fans happy, as well as the club that put their confidence in me. I want to win something important with this shirt.”

Caldara did not make a competitive appearance for Juve, spending last term on loan at Atalanta after the Bianconeri sealed a deal to sign the centre-back from the Bergamo club.

Mattia Caldara Gonzalo Higuain Milan

And the 24-year-old is now hoping to establish a strong partnership with another rising star Italy international, Alessio Romagnoli, as he bids to replace Bonucci at San Siro.

“Alessio is a very strong player,” Caldara said to DAZN. “He is one year younger than me but he has already more than 100 appearences in Serie A. It will be a great opportunity for me to play beside him. 

“I hope to show to be at his level and to play beside him also for the national team but all these things we will need to prove on the pitch.

“When I heard the rumours I was in America. I kept receiving texts from my friends but initially I didn’t know much about it.

“Then my agent called me for the first time, saying it was a concrete opportunity. So I started to think about it and every day I was more convinced of coming here. Now, having worn this shirt, I can say it has a very unique taste.”