Italy Five things we learned from Serie A football

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Gonzalo Higuain hit back at his 'fat' critics in style, racism isn't a problem for Roma and Palermo are still stuck in the mire.

Nikola Kalinic finally found his scoring boots in Florence but grumpy Brazilian sensation Gabiol can't even get a game at Inter.

Here are five things we learned from Serie A:

Higuain answers fat app critics for Juve

Gonzalo Higuain has been criticised throughout his career for missing goal chances and failing to keep his weight down. It reached a peak earlier this year when digruntled Argentina fans created a smart phone app mocking his appearance, and his tendency to fluff the odd shot. But Higuain is a hard man to keep down. Despite a latest wave of criticism due to a barren spell at Juventus, the Argentina striker was on fire for the Italian champions twice when it mattered most in the past week. 'Pipita' hit a 52nd minute opener in a 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb that secured top spot in Group H. In a Turin derby that may well have gone in Torino's favour, Higuain responded to Andrea Belotti's 16th minute opener with a leveller before the half-hour, and had his third goal in a week when he hit the winner eight minutes from time.

Strootman, and Roma laugh off Lulic race row

A week after Roma defender Antonio Rudiger was the subject of racist comments by Lazio midfielder Senad Lulic following a bitterly-contested derby, the Giallorossi are laughing the incident off. Lulic was condemned in some quarters for telling a television reporter that Rudiger, "two years ago, was selling socks and belts in Stuttgart and now he thinks he's a phenomenon." Rudiger, who is black, is a Germany international and Dutch teammate Kevin Strootman was the latest member of the Roma family to respond to Lulic's comments with irony. "Antonio wasn't sad, just surprised," Strootman told the Gazzetta dello Sport. "If Lulic thinks like this, I feel sorry for him. If Rudiger really was selling socks and belts two years ago and now he's playing like this for Roma, winning the derby, all I can is he must be a a good worker." Roma won last week's derby 2-0 and beat AC Milan 1-0 on Monday to close to within four points of leaders Juventus.

New coach, same Palermo

Eugenio Corini is Palermo's third coach this season but after two losses in two games he would be forgiven for reading the smallprint on his six-month contract. Club president Maurizio Zamparini brought the 46-year-old Italian on board hoping he can stave off relegation for a second time since the 75-year-old retail tycoon took over the club in 2002. But Corini is already heading in the same direction as predecessors Roberto De Zerbi and Davide Ballardini, the latter lasting only two weeks into the campaign. Under De Zerbi, sacked for an embarrassing exit to second division La Spezia in the Italian Cup, Palermo sunk to a new club record low of seven consecutive defeats. Corini has stretched it to nine after Palermo followed an unlucky, last-gasp defeat to Fiorentina with a 2-0 home reverse to his former club, Chievo.

Kalinic comes home at last

Nikola Kalinic wowed Fiorentina's fan last season with 12 league goals, including a stunning hat-trick in a memorable 4-1 win at Inter Milan that stunned the San Siro. This season, the Croatia international has stood out for scoring all his goals away from home -- until Monday, when he redressed the balance in style thanks to a stunning first-half brace in a 2-1 win over Sassuolo that moved Fiorentina up to seventh place. Kalinic, who failed to make an impact at Blackburn Rovers when he moved to the Premier League club in 2009, moved to Fiorentina in 2015 after helping Ukrainian giants Dnipro to the 2015 Europa League final. The 28-year-old Croatia international had hit all six of his goals previous to Monday's brace away from the Artemio Franchi stadium.

Gabigol set for quick return to Brazil?

Bought for 29m euros from FC Santos, Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa was hailed as the next big thing when he arrived at Inter Milan from the former club of Barcelona star Neymar Jr. in the summer. But the love affair is already over, according to his agent Wagner Ribeiro. Gabigol has played 16 minutes, against Bologna, for the Nerazzurri as they look to overcome a disappointing season that has left them in seventh at 15 points off the lead of Juventus. Gabigol is not a happy man and has spoken of a possible return to Brazil, according to reports. "He's not playing, he's played 16 minutes in three months," said Ribeiro. "I will speak with Inter face to face at the start of the year, they paid 30m and now they treat him like this."

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