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Dzeko & Higuain: Two Goal-scoring Greats, Two Uncertain Futures

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Two strikers, one constant: scoring goals

SSC Napoli v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

On Sunday, these two old but great warriors could meet on the battlefield (apparently Higuain is in doubt for the clash, editor’s note). Edin Dzeko, the big Bosnian, who was Inter’s prime target last summer and Gonzalo Higuain, who was reportedly close to AS Roma in that exact same summer, as Dzeko’s replacement.

I must admit it was kinda logical. Yes, Roma would wave goodbye to a lethal striker who would join a rival, but in exchange they get a perhaps even bigger name and goal scoring machine—one who’s one-and-a-half years younger than Edin, too. And Roma would cash in on a 33-year-old player who was soon out of contract. Hooray, funds for a new stadium! Or at least some new seats because Gonazalo wasn’t coming for free either...

Dzeko to Inter, Higuain to Roma. The media were pretty sure this would happen in July 2019, yet they were horribly wrong. One month later Dzeko would surprisingly renew his contract with Roma until 2022 and recently Higuain sealed his place in Juve’s line-up alongside Ronaldo and Dybala in Sarri’s deadly tridente.

While Dzeko is a sure starter at Roma and just extended his contract, Gonzalo’s future at Juve is far from certain. Dybala, Bernardeschi, and Douglas Costa are all younger than him while Juve just bought Kulusevski. And Ronaldo always plays, no matter what happens (unless he runs out of hair gel). Gonzalo’s wages are the same as Belgium’s GDP ( 60% chocolate, 40% beer) while he is on the wrong side of 30.

Both men have shared lots of encounters since 2015 when Dzeko first arrived in Rome. His first season was disappointing while Higuain smashed all records at Napoli with 36 goals in Serie A. Ironically the next season the tables have turned: Dzeko finished as capocannoniere with a remarkable 29 goals while Higuain joined his new club Juve and ‘only’ reached 16 because of too high expectations.

On Sunday, they will represent almost 200 goals combined in Serie A (again, IF Higuain plays). A match inside a match one could say. In 2019-2020 these two strikers have similar stats. Dzeko scored 7 goals in 18 games, Higuain 5 goals in 16 games. Almost identical, although Dzeko has basically no competition up front and literally everyone in Rome adapts to his game. Gonzalo, on the other hand, has a certain Ronaldo next to him who takes all the spotlights (and goal scoring opportunities). With Zaniolo, Diawara, Pellegrini, Pjanic, Matuidi, and Dybala, both Dzeko and Higuain can’t complain about help from their respective midfielders.

However, I get the feeling Dzeko is aging better than Higuain. In other words, Higuain would have more trouble playing in Fonseca’s system than Dzeko in Sarri’s system. While people were praising Edin’s fitness, Gonzalo Il Gordo Higuain was deemed ‘chubby’ and slow. I remember a lot of fans in Chiesa who were against the move back in the summer.

But don’t get me wrong, Gonzalo is still deadly in the box and he will be eager to score one or two this weekend to prove he’s not finished yet, alongside young talents like Zaniolo and Dybala. But does he have a future at Juve or not? Last season he was loaned out to Milan and Chelsea without success and I’m sure there will be transfer rumors popping up by June linking him to China or some Arabian league.

While Higuain may soon be Juve’s past, Dzeko certainly looks like Roma’s present and future, ending his football career in Rome in 2022 if all goes well.

But first: Roma-Juve. Will the Bosnian Diamond shine once more? Or will the Argentinian hitman strike again? Two guys who chose two totally different career paths since 2004, but with one constant: Goals, goals & goals. I have feeling at least one of them will hit the back of the net on Sunday.

Let’s just hope for our sake it’s Edin.