Chelsea striker Gonzalo Higuain has confirmed his retirement from the Argentina national team on a sour note.
The 31-year-old forward had been increasingly snubbed by Argentina in recent months with the likes of Mauro Icardi, Lautaro Martinez and Superliga pair Dario Benedetto and Matias Suarez all preferred to him in recent call-ups.
Higuain’s last goal for Argentina came in October 2016, in a World Cup qualifying draw against Peru, and he failed to score a goal in the World Cup in Russia.
Higuain has been heavily criticised in his nation for his performance, albeit he remains Argentina’s sixth record scorer, with 31 goals in 75 appearances.
The 31-year-old called time on his Argentina career on Thursday, hitting back at critics who only highlighted his costly misses in three successive tournament finals. Higuain spurned opportunities in the 2014 World Cup final as well as the 2015 and 2016 Copa America deciders, and the South American nation has targeted Higuain personally.
Former striker and Argentine legend Gabriel Batistuta has come to the defence of Higuain and says the striker is mistreated in Argentina following his international retirement.
“It seems to me he’s been a great striker,” Batistuta said of Higuain, who is on loan at Chelsea from Juventus. “Respected all over the world. And treated in a bad way in Argentina.
“We were talking about the fact that strikers maybe miss 200 goals, but then make one, two or three goals in the right moments, and so they are always remembered for those few ones they scored, compared to the ones they failed.
“And I said: ‘there’s also the opposite’. Higuain scored 200 goals, and missed three at the wrong time; and in Argentina, unfortunately, he is remembered for that.
“When he is, instead, a great striker, one of the best we’ve seen in the last years on a global scale.”