Legendary Number 10 Francesco Totti has given his forthright view on Gonzalo Higuain’s decision to quit Napoli for Juventus, whilst Azzurri icons Diego Maradona and Marek Hamsik have urged fans to move on.
Argentine striker and Serie A top scorer Higuain left for €90million (£75million) after the Serie A champions met his buyout clause in July. But it was the player’s perceived wish to leave which left a bitter taste in the mouth for many – particularly with the Naples side building a team that challenged Juventus for so long last season.
One man who knows about loyalty all too well is Roma captain Francesco Totti, who didn’t hold back with his thoughts on the matter when asked by the Gazzetta dello Sport:
There aren’t many athletes who follow their hearts. They choose go somewhere to win more and earn more money. They’re like travellers.
People come to the stadium to have fun and to see a player that’s always with the same team. Maybe they hope for a player that won’t betray them.
Look at what’s happened now with Gonzalo Higuain leaving Napoli for Juventus. It’s a disaster. But, it’s completely normal now that when a foreigner comes to Italy he has the possibility of going to another team to make more money.
If I thought only about the money and the finances, I would have changed teams 10 years ago. I’d earn more in respect to what I make now with Roma. For me it’s another choice, one of passion, not money.
The sport has changed a lot. Now the focus is more on money. Players change teams more often, to make maybe more money. It’s more business than passion.
Meanwhile Napoli idol Diego Maradona urged fans of the Partenopei to move on from the saga and think of the future, whilst reassuring them that he will never betray the supporters:
The people of Napoli need support – you can rest assured that I support you. I will never betray you. What is done is done so let’s think about building a beautiful squad for the people and let Higuain do what’s best for him. It’s over with Higuain now, but it will never be over with me. A big kiss from me to the president and to all Neapolitans.
Current Napoli captain and playmaker Marek Hamsik echoed the fantasista great’s sentiment by stating:
We’ve lost a great player, but we need to look ahead. We’re a great side and we’ve got to prove it. We’ve got Serie A and the Champions League to look forward to.