Gonzalo Higuain made his Chelsea debut alongside Marcos Alonso on Sunday, and the occasion no doubt brought back a fond memory of our left-back’s first-ever appearance in senior football.
This time it was our new striker playing his opening game for the Blues, helping us to a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge, but back in 2010, Alonso was taking his first steps as professional at his hometown club Real Madrid.
Having featured at every level of Real’s youth set-up and starring for Castilla – their reserve “B” team playing in the third tier – he was given his chance of regular involvement in the senior squad in 2009/10 by Manuel Pellegrini, who would go on to win the Premier League as Manchester City manager four years later.
Despite first being called-up for first-team duty for a fixture at Valencia in December, Alonso had to wait until 4 April 2010 to finally get his debut, coming on as a substitute late on in a 2-0 win away at Racing Santander, and the man he replaced in that game was none other than his newest team-mate, Higuain.
However, that moment being applauded onto the pitch by Higuain and the minutes which followed turned out to be the highlight of the Spaniard’s time in Madrid, choosing instead to move abroad aged 19 to kick-start his career after making just that one appearance, initially with Bolton and then Fiorentina.
In contrast, that was just one of many matches during a long and successful spell at the Bernabeu for the Argentine forward. In fact, he was actually one of the two goalscorers against Santander that day, finishing off a quick counter-attack after being played through by Guti to extend Real’s lead, following Cristiano Ronaldo’s first-half opener.
That game came almost exactly halfway through Higuain’s seven-season Madrid career, with the 2009/10 campaign also being his most prolific in Spain, scoring 29 goals in 40 matches in all competitions.
However, that season didn’t bring any of the six trophies he won with Los Blancos, including three La Liga titles in 2007, 2008 and 2012, scoring the goal which crowned Real champions for the second of those by completing a 2-1 comeback win against Osasuna. He also found the net in both their 2008 and 2012 Supercopa victories.