Chelsea loanee Gonzalo Higuaín has revealed that his mother's serious illness almost saw him prematurely end his footballing career back in 2016.
The Argentina international joined the Blues on a temporary deal last week, with the Juventus man ending his underwhelming loan spell with AC Milan to join his former manager Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge. The 31-year-old famously scored 36 goals in one season under the charismatic coach at Napoli, and will be eager to recapture his form at Stamford Bridge.
Three years ago, the powerful forward almost quit football altogether, after his mother, Nancy, was diagnosed with a serious illness after the Copa America. Higuaín told the Mirror: "I decided immediately that I must stop playing football so that I could look after my mum, I suspected something was wrong at home during the tournament.
"But it was still a huge shock when I was told the truth. I felt guilty, because I played in that final without knowing. My whole world came crashing down in that moment. I was not interested in anything else but my mum. I told her I was finished with football and if it had been down to me I would have stopped playing."
Higuaín continued: "Her reply was that when I played football it made her happy. She told me that she would not allow me to give up something I loved. She asked me to carry on for her - and I knew I had to grant that wish.
"My family and friends are everything to me. After that, comes football. People need to understand that. They see you kick a ball and they don’t think you have anything to think about outside the game.”
Meanwhile, Higuaín's arrival at Stamford Bridge has triggered the exit of Álvaro Morata, who is set to join Atlético Madrid on loan. The flop forward has had a torrid time in the Premier League, having failed to adapt to the physical nature of the competition. The 26-year-old is unlikely to play for the Blues again, and may well join Atléti on a permanent deal next summer.