Juventus’ forward from Argentina Gonzalo Higuain (L) celebrates with teammate Juventus’ defender from Italy Giorgio Chiellini after scoring during the UEFA Champion’s League Group D football match Juventus vs Olympiacos on September 27, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. / AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO
Gonzalo Higuain said he was relishing proving the doubters wrong after coming off the bench to inspire Juventus to a 2-0 Champions League win over Olympiakos in Turin.
The 29-year-old roared towards the jubilant home fans in delight, pumped his chest triumphantly and threw his jersey into the crowd in the Allianz Stadium after Wednesday night’s win.
“I don’t let myself be bothered by criticism whether it be positive or negative,” said the French-born Argentina player.
“The fans really fired me up before I came on and it was beautiful to see their delight after I scored, it’s the most beautiful moment of my career.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side needed to reignite their European campaign after falling 3-0 to Barcelona two weeks ago.
Higuain had been benched for two consecutive matches after scoring just two goals this season but came on as a substitute to score and help set up the second for Mario Mandzukic.
“I didn’t feel under pressure. I am not disturbed by criticism or insults, it’s all about having faith in yourself.
“I heard people say I was in crisis for not scoring in two or three games, that’s good, because obviously they were accustomed to me scoring in every game.”
Skipper Gianluigi Buffon, who became the first Italian player to mark 110 Champions League appearances, praised Higuain’s resilience.
“Higuain deserves it, you can prod him every way possible, but he has to give the response on the field and he did that,” said Buffon.
Olympiakos — playing just two days after Takis Lemonis was named new coach — suffered their second defeat in a row.
“Juventus are one of the five best teams in Europe and can hope to reach the final again. We caused them a few problems and this doesn’t reduce their status in any way,” he said.
Olympiakos next travel to leaders Barcelona on October 18 with last year’s finalists Juventus hosting Sporting Lisbon in Turin.