Federico Higuain to make Inter Miami debut alongside brother against Atlanta

Inter Miami will have two Higuains on the roster when it plays Atlanta United at home on Wednesday night.

Federico “Fede” Higuain, the older brother of Argentine star forward Gonzalo Higuain, will make his Inter Miami debut after being traded from D.C. United late last week. Both players have similar looks and beards, but Federico will have “F. Higuain” on the back of his shirt and Gonzalo will have “Higuain”.

The elder Higuain, 35, is a forward and attacking midfielder and spent eight years with the Columbus Crew before joining D.C. United at the start of this season. He scored more than 50 goals in 200 games for the Crew.

He also played 157 games in Argentina’s first division and played in Turkey and Mexico. Unlike Gonzalo, who is known for his clinical finishing, Federico is more of a playmaker. His strengths are his vision, passing, ball control and play off the ball.

He comes at the perfect time, as the team is missing midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro, who is with the Mexican national team in Europe, and forward Juan Agudelo, who is injured.

“On the field, Fede can help us in many ways,” Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso said. “He can play as a second striker, as a No. 10, as a winger. He gives us options. And he can also help us off the field with his experience, he knows the league and he is a useful player for us at this moment. With the absence of Pizarro and Agudelo, there was a spot for him and he fills it perfectly.”

Higuain is delighted to join his brother on the field for the first time since they played together with River Plate in Argentina from 2005 to 2007.

“At the time Gonzalo came here to MLS, I was playing for D.C. United, so my goal was to do my best in that club; but then when this opportunity came, it was amazing for me,” Federico Higuain said on a conference call Tuesday.

“It’s a great opportunity. It’s going to be a great experience to play for this club and play next to my brother. It was one of our dreams when we were kids, and lately in our career we couldn’t make it [happen].”

Federico was pleased that his younger brother made the decision to leave Juventus and join Inter Miami after more than a decade in Europe, playing for Real Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea and Juventus.

“I’m really happy Gonzalo is here in MLS and he’s really happy to be here,” Higuain said. “He is doing his best on and off the field. I think it will be a good experience for him.”

Gonzalo instantly became a locker room leader when he joined Inter Miami, and he made headlines around the world with a spectacular game-winning free kick against New York City FC.

“Any time you get a player of Gonzalo’s quality, of his level of success, is amazing,” said Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles, who is injured and whose captain’s armband is now being worn by Gonzalo Higuain. “But the second part is what’s his buy-in? When these stars from other leagues come to MLS, you wonder what level of commitment will they bring to the group? His has been absolutely amazing. When you’re able add a piece like that to the group, it not only elevates the forwards, it elevates everyone.”

Federico said he still needs some time to adapt to his new team, but he feels he can help with his experience and versatility. Miami is coming off back-to-back wins and making a push for a playoff spot with six games remaining. Miami is in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with a 5-10-2 record and 17 points. The top 10 teams advance to the playoffs. Atlanta is in 10th place at 5-9-3 (18 points), so a Miami win would leapfrog them above the playoff line.

Federico sustained an ACL injury in 2019, and Columbus let him go. He said he has returned to full fitness and is ready to play on Wednesday.

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