Higuain flattered by Lionel Messi link
Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain says he is "honoured" to hear Lionel Messi would have liked him to be his strike partner at Barcelona, but that nothing would tempt him away from the prospect of winning the Serie A title in Naples.
Higuain partnered Messi for Argentina at the World Cup this summer and there had been reports he may return to Spain to link up with his compatriot at Barcelona.
That was not an option for the 26-year-old former Real Madrid forward, though, as he instead has his heart set on winning trophies with Napoli.
"It was never something I took any notice of," Higuain told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I always said the truth, which is that I wanted to think only about the World Cup and then return to Napoli. The things Messi said honour me and I think everybody would love to play alongside such a big champion, but that does not mean I wanted to leave.
"I am more motivated than ever before and I can only imagine what could happen the day in which we are to win the Scudetto. That's a party I really want to enjoy. I wanted to do the double of winning the World Cup and then the scudetto the year after with Napoli, like [Diego] Maradona in 1986.
"The first dream has vanished, but there is still one left and I'm certain it can come true in May."
Higuain's optimism stems not only from Antonio Conte's resignation as coach of Juventus, a move which he believes will weaken the Bianconeri, but the understanding Napoli's squad have acquired after their first full season together under Rafael Benitez.
"The advantage we have over last year is that our project is now well underway," said Higuain, who lifted the Coppa Italia with Napoli at the end of his first season at the club. "We know the league now and we've learned that we cannot afford to drop so many points against smaller clubs. That's not going to happen anymore.
"As for Juve, with [Conte] on the bench, they've won three scudettos in a row so certainly some of it was down to him, particularly in terms of the way they played. They're starting a new adventure with [Massimiliano] Allegri. He's got quality, as he's shown by winning the title with Milan. We'll have to see. They are still going to be the team to beat.
"It's definitely going to be a more open race for the title and I don't think there's going to be one team capable of getting 102 points like Juve did.
"And watch out for Inter too. They've strengthened a lot with [Nemanja] Vidic, [Yann] M'Vila, [Daniel Pablo] Osvaldo and [Gary] Medel. The Nerazzurri are going to be challenging for the scudetto, unlike Milan, who still need to work a lot on the transfer market."