Back in March 2012, four-time Balon D’Or winner Lionel Messi named Sergio Agüero with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney as the Barclays Premier League’s top three players. High praise indeed, from not just arguably the world’s best player, but also from a friend (with one of sport’s favourite current myths claiming the Barcelona star is the godfather of Agüero’s son).
This praise from Messi is definitely something that will be echoed by many football fans who have seen the striker play, especially at Manchester City since his arrival for £38 million in 2011. Since then the Argentine international has guided City to a Premier League triumph in his debut season, and after a poor second season in comparison has rocketed out of the blocks in the 2013-14 campaign.
I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when City signed up the former Atletico Madrid star from his former club after weeks of speculation for what remains as a club-record fee of £38 million. When I eventually did see him play, I knew we had someone special on our hands, who took over when Carlos Tevez gallivanted off home to Argentina, leaving City with three strikers for much of the 2011-12 season.
Agüero is in fact a very similar player to the man he arguably replaced, former Manchester United forward Carlos Tevez. The two Argentines are both small and skilful players, with the ability to change the game in their own favour within minutes. They also both have remarkable finishing, which lead to Tevez becoming the fastest player to reach 50 goals in a Manchester City shirt (in the Premier League era). The surprising amount of strength that each holds is a massive asset for the team that they are playing for. Both work hard to win the ball back and never stop chasing it down, something formidable in a player. If you had 10 outfield players with the same on-pitch work ethic as these two, I think you’d win almost every game.
Agüero’s home debut for the Blues, against newly-promoted Swansea City at the Etihad in August 2011 was a game that showed just how big things we could expect from the newest signing. The Argentine started the game as a substitute, before coming on with half an hour remaining to make his mark on the tie. It took him just eight minutes to open his account for the club, with an easy finish at the back post. It took him just another three to set up his first goal – for City’s star midfielder David Silva – although it should have been chalked off as the ball went off. Agüero then scored a stunning second to really show the watching audience what he’s about, netting past Michel Vorm from nearly 30 yards.
Throughout the season, we just saw him getting better and better. Key goals against sides like Vilarreal kept dreams in various competitions alive, and he seemed to pick up a habit of scoring against rivals United, netting twice in three games against them that year. He has gone on to score another 3 since, including the winner at Old Trafford last year. Then, of course, there’s that goal on 13th May 2012, which brought the league title to the Etihad for the first time in over four decades. I think you know which one I mean.
Since signing just over two years ago, Agüero has more than proved his worth to me, in bringing silverware and heroics to Eastlands. He may not have had the greatest of campaigns last time round, scoring just 12 in the league all season, but he has come out in the new campaign fitter than ever and on fire. So far, he has scored 13 in 13 in all competitions this season (8 in 9 in the league) along with 6 assists between the Premier League and the Champions League showing just how good he has been this season.
After Carlos Tevez left Manchester for Turin in the summer, much thought was put into who could replace Agüero’s strike partner. That man turned out to be Spaniard Alvaro Negredo, capped by his country, and already a favourite for the Blues. The big striker already has 9 in 16 games for his new club, including bagging a hat-trick against CSKA Moscow to send the Citizens into the Champions League knock-out stages for the first time recently. The pair have become lethal up front together, complimenting each other’s strengths and weaknesses very well. It’s still only early in the season, but if Manchester City do end up as league champions in May, it’ll be these two held responsible.
The fact that the diminutive Argentine attacker seems to be linked with a move away from City every other week by the press shows how good he is. Barcelona and Real Madrid are the two most commonly mooted as the destination for the Argentina international, but European champions Bayern München and Serie A winners Juventus (who purchased Carlos Tevez off City in July) have also been linked with a move for the City star. However, these rumours seem to not faze the striker, who seems content in northern England for the time being.
Sergio ‘Kun’ Agüero has come a long way from his early years playing on the streets of South America. Few could have imagined the success he would reach when he made his debut for his first club, Independiente, over 10 years ago. There will have been a select few who noticed a star in the making, who will now be glad their interest paid off, as the 25-year-old looks to make his mark on the game. He’s got all the tools to do just so, especially with praise like that of Lionel Messi mentioned pushing him towards his goals.