Massimiliano Allegri says he would always choose Gonzalo Higuain over Harry Kane as Juventus prepare to face Tottenham in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Juve host Tuesday’s first leg at Allianz Stadium against a Spurs team that confounded many expectations by winning Group H ahead of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund.
Kane comes into the meeting in red-hot form, with eight goals in his last seven appearances, while Higuain is enjoying a similarly prolific sequence, boasting six strikes from four matches.
Much has been made of the two strikers going head-to-head in this tie, but Allegri was unequivocal in his response over whom he felt was the better player.
“What a question! Higuain, of course!” he said with a smile at Monday’s media conference.
“Given the choice between Higuain and Kane, I would still pick Pipita as my number nine, even if Kane is a top-class striker.”
Higuain will shoulder an extra burden after it was confirmed Paulo Dybala (hamstring) would miss out, while Blaise Matuidi (thigh) is also unavailable for the opening leg, and Allegri was giving little away as to who would come in for the Frenchman.
“Of course someone will replace him because we have to play 11, but it’ll be someone with different characteristics,” Allegri said.
“We’ll try of course to play a match according to the players and specific skills and features they have. We know we have 180 minutes to play, we know the weaknesses Tottenham have and also their qualities.
“[Claudio] Marchisio convinced me and [Rodrigo] Bentancur also very much convinced me. There’s also [Stefano] Sturaro who can play in Matuidi’s role, and he’s probably the one most similar to Matuidi.
“If not we’ll have to change formation or at least fill the roles with players with different characteristics. A lot depends on the players.
“Tomorrow we’ll have to play an excellent match from a tactical point of view, because otherwise if we just focus on the physical aspect we could suffer a lot.”