Gonzalo Higuain could still be fit to face former club Napoli despite fracturing his finger this week, according to Juventus teammate Giorgio Chiellini.
Higuain underwent surgery earlier this week and was expected to be out for up to a fortnight, but Chiellini says he could be on the Stadio San Paolo pitch for Friday night’s Serie A top-of-the-table clash.
“He’s doing well after the operation and I think he’ll do everything he can to play on Friday,” Chiellini told Sky Sport Italia. “He’s particularly keen to play in this game. Let’s see if he does manage to recover.”
Higuain is all the more keen to face his former club after being subjected to jokes and insults from Napoli fans following his injury misfortune.
“There are always those who wish you the worst for the simple fact that you play football, without knowing anything about you and your private life,” Higuain wrote on Instagram. “These kind of people who care more about other people’s suffering than about their own lives do not warrant any respect.
“The operation went very well and today is another day, and what better way to start it than with a smile and a positive feeling that everything will get better.
“I want to thank all those who have been concerned — family, friends, teammates and all the fans who, without being friends or family, still always value my work, and my love goes out to them.”
There is no love lost between Higuain and Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, with the striker having repeatedly stated that De Laurentiis is the reason why he left Napoli to join Juventus 18 months ago.
De Laurentiis’ son Edoardo, Napoli’s vice-president, has told La Gazzetta dello Sport that it is a pity Higuain might not play “because it would have been better to meet him on the field and put four goals past them.”
Napoli go into Friday night’s clash with a four-point advantage over Juve at the top of Serie A, with Inter Milan sitting between the two teams.
“Losing on Friday would be a big blow for us, but the season doesn’t end this week,” Chiellini added.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.