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Gonzalo Higuain 'betrayed' Napoli by joining Juventus, says Aurelio De Laurentiis

Gonzalo Higuain
Image: New Juventus signing Gonzalo Higuain arrives in Turin after completing his move to the Serie A champions

Gonzalo Higuain "betrayed" Napoli by joining rivals Juventus, according to owner Aurelio De Laurentiis, despite the Serie A club receiving £75.3m from the Argentina striker's sale.

Higuain ended his three-year spell with Napoli on Tuesday when he agreed to a record five-year deal with the Italian champions that is expected to earn him £6.3m a year.

As Juventus fans mostly rejoiced, their Napoli counterparts reacted by posting photos of their idol's Napoli shirt in the toilet.

De Laurentiis, despite a more healthy bank account, was not far behind in criticising the 28-year-old forward, whose record tally of 36 goals last season took Napoli to the brink of ending their 26-year wait for the Serie A title.

"Some people say that to speak of betrayal is exaggerated, but I think the opposite because there is the full sense of betrayal in this [Higuain] choice because of the ingratitude shown," he told Corriere dello Sport.

"Obviously I have to consider the role played by Juventus, but I expected a different kind of behaviour [from Higuain]." 

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Gonzalo Higuain is now the third most expensive footballer of all time

Higuain was feted as the King of Napoli only two months ago when he broke Gunnar Nordahl's 66-year-old record of 35 goals in a single Serie A season as Napoli battled Juve for the title they last won in 1990.

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In the end, Napoli finished second, but Higuain was the star of their campaign.

De Laurentiis placed a €94.7m buyout clause into his contract, although when Juventus offered €90m over two instalments, the Napoli owner sanctioned his departure.

De Laurentiis conceded the transaction was above board. However, he said Higuain's snap decision to quit Napoli, following advice from his brother and agent, reflected the "unscrupulous" nature of the modern game.

"True, there was the clause so there was no formal impropriety... but the unscrupulous nature of football means there is no respect for sentiment," added De Laurentiis.

Gonzalo Higuain
Image: Gonzalo Higuain has swapped Napoli for Juventus in a deal worth £75.3m

"We understood, as soon as Higuain's brother spoke, that we might run the risk of having to look for a new centre forward.

"But we didn't think that risk was serious, or that he could simply wipe clean his three years spent with Napoli."

Higuain was undergoing a medical in Turin on Wednesday morning ahead of signing a five-year deal that will make him the third most expensive signing in history after Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He will be officially unveiled on Thursday. But Higuain's shock move to the Serie A champions was met with mixed reaction.

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Juventus have signed Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli for £75.3m, according to Sky Italia

For one-club man Francesco Totti, who is set to play his final season with Roma, it is a disaster that smacks more of "business than passion".

"Look at what's happened now with Gonzalo Higuain leaving Napoli for Juventus. It's a disaster," said Totti.

"But, it's completely normal now that when a foreigner comes to Italy he has the possibility of going to another team to make more money."

Napoli already had their sights set on Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, although Ajax's Poland international Arkadiusz Milik is understood to be a more realistic replacement for Higuain.

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