Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain has insisted he refuses to take outside criticism to heart after finding true meaning in life outside of football, after revealing he was close to quitting the game after his mother fell ill a few years ago.
The 30-year-old has been on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism and abuse at both club and international level, with his role in the 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany leading to long standing ridicule.
Higuain had a goal disallowed and failed to convert a handful of chances during the final in Brazil, but whilst others continue to shine a spotlight on his errors, the striker is focusing on the good in his life.
A mindset which further emerged when his mother fell ill in 2016 and led to him reevaluating his place in the game.
"It was a terrible time, I was about to stop playing, but my mother told me to continue," he told TNT, via Marca.
"If it was down to me then I would have quit, everything went into the background at that point. I love her, she was the one who gave me the strength to continue and told me that she couldn't let me leave what I loved for her."
On the harsh criticism present in the game - in which the striker has previous history with - Higuain added: “The world of football treats players as disposable goods. When you stop you’re not worth anything anymore.
"The truth is that the best are usually criticised, so I’m calm. People attack you for a missed goal, but forget the 300 you scored before. People talk about the goal I missed at the Maracana? I made a nicer goal which is to have my daughter and my wife.
"The most important thing in life, when you leave football, is to be a good person and have people who love you. People who tell you that they celebrated your goal are not important to that."
The Argentina international has netted 23 goals and provided seven assists this term as Juventus secured their seventh title in a row, his second since moving from Napoli in two years ago.
Asked about his relationship with the Napoli supporters, he said: "I wanted to sign for Napoli because of the history with Argentina, but then I wanted to grow.
"I didn't do any harm to anyone, I made a decision that I thought was best for my family and I. They simply didn't take it well."