MILAN — Amid reports of an imminent move to Chelsea and a mystery fever, Gonzalo Higuain again lost his cool against his former club Juventus in what could have been his last match for AC Milan.
Higuain was on the bench on Wednesday for most of the Italian Super Cup against Juventus, officially due to "fever." But he went on for the final 20 minutes.
The Argentina forward made little impact as 10-man Milan lost to Juventus, but he still made the headlines.
Infuriated by a perceived unjust refereeing decision, Higuain reacted angrily after the final whistle and had to be dragged away by his Milan teammates.
It was not the first time Higuain has blowm up against Juventus. In November, in his first match against the Bianconeri since his loan move to Milan, Higuain missed a penalty and was sent off for arguing with the referee. That prompted him to cry.
Higuain showed little emotion as he arrived back in Italy from Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Thursday.
Pursued by journalists, one of whom asked if he was happy to be reunited with Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea, Higuain responded tersely: "You're looking for trouble. You'll never get it with me."
There were high hopes when Milan, which sorely lacked a regular scorer last season, signed Higuain in August, paying 18 million euros (then $21 million) for a loan deal with the option to buy for a further 36 million euros ($42 million) at the end of the season.
However, Higuain has underperformed, scoring eight times in 22 matches in all competitions.
It was a far cry from the 36 goals he scored in 35 league matches in his one and only season under Sarri at Napoli, an Italian record which prompted Juventus to break a league record of its own and splash out 90 million euros (then $99 million) for the player.
Sarri got the best out of the enigmatic forward, succeeding where others had failed, and he said after his first match in charge at Chelsea that he regretted not being able to sign Higuain in the off-season.
It appears as if he is on the verge of getting his man five months later.
Reports in Italy say a deal has been agreed on between Juventus and Chelsea for a six-month loan, with obligation of a further one-season loan if certain targets are achieved by the player and the team.
Talk of an exit heightened when Higuain was the only player missing from team photos with the Saudi Prince and President of the General Sport Authority, Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, before the Super Cup in Jeddah. Milan said the player was receiving treatment.
Speculation grew still further when he was left out of the starting lineup, but Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso insisted it was down to a fever.
"Gonzalo is unlucky at the moment," Gattuso said after the match. "He had a fever last night, we did everything to get him better ... it might seem like a joke but it's true, when the Saudi Prince came to visit I didn't want him to be there because he might have infected the others with the virus."
Gattuso was less open about Higuain's potential departure.
"I don't know if it's his last match, I can't respond to that," he said. "I have another 25 players to think about. The defeat is burning me now and I won't say more ... we'll see what happens tomorrow."
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