Monday, May 21, 2018

Higuain happy at Napoli amid Barca link; Jackson Martinez to decide future after World Cup

Higuain happy at Napoli amid Barca link; Jackson Martinez to decide future after World Cup

S.S.C. Napoli forward Gonzalo Higuain has moved to play down reports linking him with a big-money move to Barcelona this summer.

Higuain, who joined Napoli from Real Madrid for €40 million last summer, is currently on international duty with Argentina at the World Cup, awaiting a date with Switzerland in the Round of 16 on Tuesday, 1 July.

The Argentina international, under contract at the Stadio San Paolo until the summer of 2018, bagged 17 goals and seven assists in 32 Italian Serie A appearances for the Partenopei last term.

“I have nothing to say because there has been nothing,” Higuain said.

 “I know nothing about Barcelona and I feel good at Napoli. But now, I want to think only about the World Cup.”

Higuain has done very little at the World Cup to warrant such speculation but his goal-scoring in previous years has been exceptional.

The player’s agent, and father, added: “Gonzalo feels good at Napoli and he won’t change club. I have nothing to deny because there has been nothing concrete.”

 Jackson Martinez to decide future after World Cup

FC Porto talisman Jackson Martinez has revealed he will decide his long-term future after the World Cup amid reports suggesting English Premier League quartet Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham are monitoring the player.

The Colombia international, 27, scored two goals in Colombia’s 4-1 rout of Japan to put him in contention to start the crucial Round of 16 clash with Uruguay on Saturday.

Martinez, who joined Porto from Liga MX side Chiapas for $11 million in 2012, has netted 46 goals in 60 Portuguese Primeira games for Porto over the past two seasons and is expected to move abroad this summer.

“It is not about me, we are just focused and together as a team,” said Martinez, whose current contract at the Estádio do Dragão expires on 30 June 2016.

 “I will not think about my future until after the World Cup. I am happy with my work so far, but we are together as a team and that is very important for us.”

The 27-year-old expects Colombia to defeat Uruguay to secure a date with odds-on favourites Brazil in the World Cup quarter-finals, and rightly so.

The Uruguayans will be playing without star striker Luis Suarez, who was handed a 4-month ban by FIFA following “the bite heard around the world” on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini, while Colombia have looked one of the best sides in the tournament thus far.

“I believe Colombia is superior to Uruguay, but we need to show that on the pitch. It will be a big rivalry and now they will increase their battle to beat us,” added Martinez.

 “Uruguay is a very difficult opponent and we will have to concentrate and be focused if we are to reach the quarter-finals.

 “We know Uruguay’s strengths and they know about us, so there will be little surprise of advantage for either team.”


Shawn Etemadi



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