RIO DE JANEIRO: Former Argentine international striker Gabriel Batistuta has urged national team coach Jorge Sampaoli to recall striker Gonzalo Higuain ahead of next year's World Cup.
Despite his prolific form for Juventus in Italy's Serie A, Higuain was yet to be selected for a competitive match under Sampaoli, who was appointed coach of the Albiceleste on June 1, reports Xinhua news agency.
The 29-year-old has been widely criticised for squandering scoring opportunities for Argentina in finals of important competitions, such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments.
"He has been treated very badly. He has been misunderstood because he failed at times when we all hoped he wouldn't. But that doesn't mean he doesn't know how to play. He is one of the best strikers in the world and in Italy he's an idol," Batistuta told Radio La Red on Wednesday.
Higuain has scored 31 goals in 68 matches for Argentina since making his international debut in 2009.
Argentina, who are two-time World Cup winners, secured a place in next year's tournament in Russia by defeating Ecuador 3-1 in their final qualifier earlier in October.