Gonzalo Higuain was one of the first non-Italian Juventus players to head back home — in this case Argentina — once the club-mandated quarantine period was over as a result of Daniele Rugani testing positive for coronavirus last month. Higuain had very good reason as to why he headed back to South America: his mother is ill after being diagnosed with cancer..
What’s going on in Higuain’s homeland combined with his adopted home and where he’s played nearly the last decade of his career has now become a very hot-button issue.
According to Sky Sport Italia and Tuttosport, Higuain is rather hesitant to make his way back to Italy whenever Juventus do end up recalling its players if there is a resumption to the 2019-20 season. The reasons are as you can probably guess: his mother is still ill, and the fear about coronavirus still being very much present in Italy puts his own personal health at risk if he were to return to wearing a Juve jersey this season. As Sky Italia and Tuttosport both report, Higuain could either try to delay his return to Italy or, in a more extreme case, completely abandon it all together.
But, there’s also this: If Higuain doesn’t return to Italy when Juventus recalls him, then he will be in a breach of his contract, thus making this whole situation a whole lot more difficult and interesting than we probably ever thought it would be.
Essentially, according to Tuttosport, seeing the 32-year-old Argentine fail to report back to the club’s headquarters in Turin could give Juventus reason to terminate Higuain’s contract, one that currently runs through the 2020-21 season.
Juve, incertezza Higuain: vorrebbe restare in Argentinahttps://t.co/NbNeKHTCpO— skysport (@SkySport) April 18, 2020
There is a lot to digest here, and not exactly a whole lot of information that we also know. We don’t know what kind of communication Juventus and Higuain have had in the last 24 hours, 48 hours or even the past week. We don’t know, for sure, what the club is telling him about the possible resumption of the season, when players will be called back to Italy or even if they will give him some kind of leeway when it comes to how long will be allowed to stay back home in Argentina.
His mother is sick — that’s completely understandable and about as defensible of a reason to stay home a little longer than Juventus might have originally thought. Same goes for the complete uncertainty regarding the coronavirus in Italy even though the number of daily cases and deaths are trending downward. And, as Tuttosport points out at the very end of its report Sunday morning, there might be a third reason as to why Higuain is a little hesitant to come back so soon: his future at Juventus is anything but clear right now.
This is a complicated matter and clearly one that is going to take some time to completely figure out. There might be some clarity once Serie A clubs start to have an idea of when their players can be recalled. Or maybe it will be if there’s a way Higuain can know for sure he is healthy if he comes back to Italy in the next handful of months. But this is not the end of the road. On the contrary — this just seems like the beginning of a difficult issue that is an unfortunate byproduct of everything that has happened in the age of coronavirus.