Real Madrid currently occupy third place while Barcelona are on top but only by a point with Levante separating the perennial contenders in Spain. One of the main reasons behind Real’s 24 goals in 7 La Liga matches is the presence of key player Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portuguese star is not the only reason behind this tally which is second to Barca only. However, Real’s push to win La Liga cannot be attributed to Ronaldo’s presence alone considering Gonzalo Higuaín’s blistering form early in the season.
Gonzalo has already managed 8 goals in just 7 matches, including three starts and an additional four appearances as a substitute. His current form bodes well for Los Galacticos who are desperate to win back the league title after years of Barca’s dominance on the domestic scene. The Argentine forward has a solid record with Real but was hindered by injury last season during which he played 17 matches and managed to score 10 times while providing assists on 6 occasions.
In 2008/09 season Higuaín scored 22 goals and had 9 assists in 34 league matches. The following season he played 32 times and registered 27 goals while giving 5 assists. Thus, Higuaín was improving as a player and growing in terms of stature as a forward prior to the injury setback. This season he has been eased into matches by coach Jose Mourinho and has repaid the controversial Portuguese’s faith with goals.
One important feature of Gonzalo’s game is his ability to contribute beyond scoring goals as witnessed by his decent number of assists each season. He has also been accurate this season with his 8 goals coming from just 20 shots and those numbers are extremely impressive when compared with Ronaldo’s stats. Cristiano has scored 7 times so far this season but needed a massive 52 shots in order to achieve his goal haul. Higuaín’s numbers are more impressive when factoring in Ronaldo’s less efficient scoring rate and the fact that the Portuguese started six matches while making a single appearance as a substitute compared to the Argentine’s three starts and four substitute appearances.
Higuaín’s return to fitness and his free scoring form are major positives for Mourinho in this campaign considering the alternative is Frenchman Karim Benzema who has been erratic in his Madrid career despite a decent return of 15 goals last season. One main factor to consider is Gonzalo’s age as he is only 23 years-old and can only improve over the years if he continues to work at this rate. Higuaín has scored a total of 77 goals in 134 league matches which is a rate better than 1 goal every 2 matches.
With the Argentine forward back in the starting lineup, many will bet on Real’s ability to rise to the challenge and perhaps even replace rivals Barcelona as league champions. His goals will certainly help Los Galacticos to compete with Barca but there is no guarantee it will be enough to win the Spanish crown.