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The 25-year-old has had an excellent start to his Partenopei career since joining from Real Madrid, and the Spanish coach believes he's the most influential player at the club

Gonzalo Higuain is the most influential player at Napoli, according to coach Rafa Benitez.

The 25-year-old striker joined Partenopei from Real Madrid for €40m (£34m) this summer and has scored eight goals in his first 14 games for the Italian side.

Benitez was full of praise for his player, saying that, although perhaps not at the level of Diego Maradona when he played for Napoli, there is nobody more important in the side than Higuain currently.

"There isn't a Maradona. He was far above the rest," the Spaniard told Marca.

"Our team is based on the collective, although there is Higuaín who could be the most essential player here right now. He doesn't only score goals, he also makes the team play better."

The 53-year-old also spoke about what winning the Serie A title would mean to him this season, saying he would rank it higher than his Liga success with Valencia in the early 2000s.

"This would be more rewarding," he added.

"Valencia was already a club with a defined structure ,whereas there's still a way to go at Napoli."

Finally, when asked about his treatment by Chelsea fans while in charge of the club, he says it was only a select few who tried to make life difficult for him.

"There was just a group of fans whose opinion we couldn't change."



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