When Gonzalo Higuain signed with Inter Miami in 2020, he initially thought his time in Major League Soccer would be a cakewalk.
Almost one year later, as the Inter Miami striker battles through his second season, Higuain now understands just how wrong he was.
Higuain admitted to underestimating MLS in a recent interview with Bobo TV — a Twitch stream program hosted by retired Italian forward Christian Vieiri — saying he has found the league to be tougher than originally expected. The Argentine striker signed with Inter Miami as a Designated Player last fall and had trouble finding his top form in his first season with the team. Higuain finished with one and two assists in nine matches.
“To tell you the truth, I thought that I could have played with a cigarette here,” said Higuain. “I struggled at first because it is a difficult league. I have learned that it is similar to Italian football. In Italy, football is a battle and here it is the same thing. It is a league that you have to understand to succeed, it is new to me and it is very physical.
“All the teams that win here have a strong American core that understands the league. I struggled at first. I am starting to get to know the league better, but you will struggle if you are not physically fit.”
Higuain, 33, is off to a better start in his second MLS campaign. The occasional Inter Miami captain has scored four times and assisted on one other goal in seven appearances, but that has not stopped the team from enduring a poor 2-4-2 start that has the Herons sitting in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
While Higuain might have envisioned a different beginning to his time on the field in South Florida, he has enjoyed life off of it. He wanted a change of scenery after leaving Italian heavyweight Juventus, and Inter Miami has given him just that.
“I will tell you the truth. I was not finding the passion and the fight outside of the soccer field,” said Higuain. “I felt I had nothing left to give. My good friend (Gianluigi) Buffon told me, ‘If you do not feel the fire inside you to go to training and that drive to keep playing at the highest level, you have to leave.’
“I was not feeling that anymore and I wanted to feel calm. Football has given me a lot, I gave it a lot, but it was time to leave and find a new passion and a different type of football in a city that has sincerely surprised me because it is marvelous.”