Domenech glad Higuain issue settled

January 26, 2007

PARIS, Jan 26 (Reuters) -- France coach Raymond Domenech said on Friday he was glad the issue of Gonzalo Higuain's eligibility was settled this week when the teenage striker chose to play for Argentina.

"I'm really relieved the problem with Higuain is sorted out," Domenech told a news conference.

"The case is closed and we are now going to focus on qualifying for the European championship. There are many players as good as him in France and we won't have to wait for him."

Domenech went to Spain earlier this week to meet the 19-year-old Real Madrid player and his father.

Higuain, who is a French national but does not speak French, left Argentine side River Plate for Real last month.

Domenech included him in his squad for a friendly against European champions Greece in November but the striker rejected the call up.

"I went there (Madrid) to sort out the problem," said Domenech. "He told me he had decided to play for Argentina.

"Argentina is the choice of his heart. He has his friends and family there. It would have been tough for him not to return and play there."

France host Argentina in a friendly in Paris next month and Domenech will announce his squad next week.