Madrid ace Higuain happy to be back
Gonzalo Higuain has spoken of his delight after returning to action for Real Madrid following more than four months on the sidelines.
Higuain, who had been absent since November due to a herniated disc which required surgery, appeared as a second-half substitute in Saturday night's home clash with Sporting Gijon.
It was to be a bittersweet night for the Argentina international as Madrid were beaten 1-0, but Higuain's return was still a major plus for the Spanish giants heading into the final stretch of the season.
Higuain told the club's website: "On an individual level I'm very happy. People believed I would miss the entire season, but I managed to show that statistics aren't everything in life.
"It was not a challenge or a competition with anybody, it was a matter of pride for myself to show that I could be back ahead of schedule.
"I was able to achieve that and I feel very comfortable.
"The key to the recovery was fighting hard, not letting myself get down and battling for what I love most, which is to play football.
"I'm grateful to all the coaching staff, the doctors, fans, my team-mates, my family and to myself. I'm very happy to be able to feel like a player again, although this wasn't quite the dream comeback I was hoping for."
It might well have been the perfect comeback, however, if Higuain had made the most of his chance just three minutes after coming on in the 56th minute.
He was set up to the right of the area, but his thunderous shot was parried over the bar by goalkeeper Juan Pablo Colinas.
"I would have been in the clouds if I'd scored with the first chance I had," Higuain added.
"I'm happy with my return because a spinal operation is not something to take lightly. To play again and feel like a player once more is the most beautiful thing that can happen to you."
The loss to Sporting saw Madrid's 25-match winning streak at the Bernabeu come to an end, leaving them eight points behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Villarreal later in the evening.
Speaking prior to Barca's win, Higuain warned against prematurely writing off Madrid's title challenge.
"It's a huge shame we lost, this was a very big opportunity, but I'm one of those who thinks that whilst there's life there's hope," he said.
"It's difficult but we need to continue fighting. We're still alive, you can never leave Real Madrid for dead."
Next up for Jose Mourinho's men is Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Tottenham at the Bernabeu, the club's first appearance at this stage of the competition in seven years.
Higuain added: "I've not felt any pain. I'm ready to help the team in any way I can on Tuesday. Hopefully we can make the fans and ourselves happy."