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Is Gonzalo Higuain really that bad when it comes to major finals?

Higuain is often criticised for a perceived lack of composure when it comes to finals, but is that fair?

Everywhere Gonzalo Higuain goes he scores goals. Naples? Tick. Madrid? Tick, tick. Turin? Tick, tick, tick.

But bring his name up in Argentina and there’s every chance you’ll get a frosty reception due to the three major finals he’s played in and lost.

That reputation of being a big game bottler isn’t limited to international footballer either. But is it deserved?

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Spanish Super Cup (2008)

Higuain’s first taste of a final with Real Madrid couldn’t have gone much better, but it didn’t get off to a great start as the first-leg finished 3-2 to Valencia, with Gonzalo kept on the bench.

By the time he came on in the second-leg Madrid were down to nine men, following the dismissals of Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Rafael van der Vaart, and trailing 5-4 on aggregate.

But Ruben de la Red equalised in the 86th minute, with Higuain scoring the winner in the 89th. Easy.

Strong hair from Gonzalo

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Strong hair from Gonzalo

Copa Del Rey (2011)

Not much to report here.

Higuain remained on the bench for the entire 120 minutes as Madrid beat Barcelona in an epic final, with Cristiano Ronaldo grabbing the winner in the 103rd minute.

Madrid’s squad depth was such that Higuain was sat alongside Kaka, Karim Benzema and the mighty Esteban Granero in the dugout.

Yes, that is Emmanuel Adebayor on the front row

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Yes, that is Emmanuel Adebayor on the front row

Spanish Super Cup (2012)

Another two-legged final. Another Barcelona epic. Another piece of silverware for Gonzalo.

The Argentinian played 30 minutes of the first-leg before starting, and scoring, in the second.

It would turn out to be Higuain’s last final with Madrid as Napoli came calling in the summer of 2013.

If only Valdes knew he’d soon be playing for Middlesbrough

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If only Valdes knew he’d soon be playing for Middlesbrough

Coppa Italia (2014)

Senor Higuain was now Signor Higuain.

He was the main man at Napoli, so no more sitting on the bench. Opposition Fiorentina were cast aside 3-1, although Higuain wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet.

As an interesting side note, Gokhan Inler’s 79th minute red card meant Higuain had yet to compete in a final were someone hadn’t got sent off.

Okay, maybe not that interesting.

No flares, no final

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No flares, no final

Italian Super Cup (2014)

This is where Higuain really stepped up to the plate.

He twice cancelled out goals from compatriot Carlos Tevez as Napoli and Juventus slugged it out for 120 minutes.

When it came round to the penalty shooutout Higuain, going fifth, kept his nerve to help Napoli win. This final lark is easy.

Pucker up Gonzalo

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Pucker up Gonzalo

World Cup (2014)

Argentina tripped their way to the 2014 World Cup final against Germany more by luck than by judgement.

Higuain had a chance to open the scoring when sent through by a Toni Kroos backpass but got his shot horribly wrong, which set the tone for his game.

He was hooked in the 78th minute, having barely survived a collision with Manuel Neuer, and had to watch on from the bench as Mario Gotze scored an extra-time winner.

I got the ball ref

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I got the ball ref

Copa America (2015)

Argentina had the chance to bury their World Cup heartbreak by lifting the Copa America against Chile a year later.

But this time Gonzalo had to make do with a place on the bench, coming on in the 74th minute with the game still goalless.

That was still enough time to miss a golden chance and miss a penalty in the shootout, which Argentina lost.

Dry your eyes mate

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Dry your eyes mate

Copa America (2016)

Okay, you’ve lost the World Cup, and you’ve lost the Copa America, but this time is going to be different, right? Wrong.

Argentina faced off against the same opponents as the game again went to penalties.

With Higuain subbed, Lionel Messi and Lucas Biglia missing penalties as another final ended in heartbreak for Argentina.

Don’t make Gonzalo jealous

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Don’t make Gonzalo jealous

Coppa Italia (2017)

Higuain, now of Juventus rather than Napoli, helped The Old Lady overcome Lazio 2-0, although he didn’t manage to grab a goal.

That win meant he’d come out on top in every domestic final he’d taken part in, only losing out with Argentina.

But, slightly ominously for Juventus’ Champions League chances, he hasn’t found the net in his last four finals.

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From one Argentinian to another…

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