By Abi Curran
In Premier League football’s modern age, social media is saturated with polarised opinions. It seems to be the only way to get yourself noticed. That is, that “this Manchester United squad is the best/worst since the Ferguson era” or that “(insert player on a run of form) is the greatest (insert players’ respective position) since (insert a legend of the game).”
Often, these outspoken opinions may be valid for a few weeks based on team results and temporary form. Once they become outdated and new players become the hot topic, tweets, conversations and punditry quotes float off into a stratosphere of unfounded and ridiculous football takes.
Remember when Romelu Lukaku was the best thing since sliced bread, then moved to United and lost it, then moved to Inter and became it again, then moved to Chelsea, slagged his manager off and lost it again?
Then there are the cornerstone players of the sport, backed by consistent statistical brilliance, making legends of the game. When we talk about organs of the Premier League in the past decade, we have to talk about Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero and the legacy he leaves which is, of course, backed by the numbers.
The Argentinian is the Premier League’s top overseas goal scorer with 184 goals and has netted a total of 260 times for Manchester City. He has the best minutes to goals ratio of a goals every 108 minutes. The only current player to come close to that is Mohammed Salah.
A reported fee of £35 million brought the gifted striker to Manchester from Atletico Madrid, a retrospective bargain given recent transfer inflation.
People asked if he could do it in all weathers but a 3-0 win over Fullham, where Aguero netted a penalty just before groundsmen had to come on the pitch and clear torrential snow from the lines, proved he most certainly could with warm gloves.
And let’s not forget the moments Aguero gifted the Premier League. In May 2012 the man changed a generation of football fans’ lives including my own. Martin Tyler’s commentary speaks for itself:
“It’s finished at Sunderland, Manchester United have done all they can …. Manchester City are still alive here. Balotelli. AGUEROOOOOOOOO!
I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again. So watch it, drink it in. They’ve just heard the news at The Stadium of Light. Two goals in added time for Manchester City to snatch the title away from Manchester United, stupendous!”
Long are the days gone where I was frightened to go into school the day after a Manchester derby defeat. Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick springs to mind. Or Michael Owen’s Fergie time clincher at Old Trafford to make it 4-3 in 2009.
As my club currently sit ten points clear at the top of the Premier League, I think of Sergio, redefining our club and rewriting the sky-blue script of recent times.
I have very fond memories of the 13th May 2012, like every City fan out there. It was a Sunday. The weekly ritual was to go to our family’s favourite local restaurant in Salford –Puccini’s. A then favourite among the Class of ’92, the place is clad with Manchester United memorabilia and signed Beckham shirts. Even the dishes are named according to United players’ favourites, ‘Penne alla Neville’ and, at the time, ‘Penne alla Giggs’.
We strolled up as a family in blue and white scarves and shirts. In the minority but justifiably proud, no one could say anything this time. There were plenty of glum faces, one of which was Fred Done’s, owner of Betfred.
In an act of true arrogance, as a United fan himself, he instructed an early pay out on bets for United to win the League in 2012 when they were eight points clear. We still do not know what tasted better that evening, sharing a glance with Fred Done in our City shirts or the Penne alla Neville dish.
Fast forward to the Pep Guardiola era, with a consistency of regularly netting 20+ times a season in between, Aguero was doubted as a player who could thrive in a Guardiola system.
Aguero upped his milage in games, increased his work rate and utilised his strength to press and defend. The results were goals and more fluency of attacking play, punishing complacency – the Argentinian still had it till the end of his City career at 32.
When Aguero was forced to announce his retirement in tears during the spectacle-like set up in Barcelona, the whole City community shed a tear or two with him. In his own words when describing Phil Foden, Aguero was “a different gravy” in Manchester City history.
Some said that the end to Aguero’s career was a tragedy, forced by a heart problem. The end to his football career certainly had tragic elements but his football narrative is far from over. A reported ambassador role at Manchester City is being lined up and his influence will inspire even more who perhaps were not yet born in 2012.
Sergio Aguero is a retired Argentinian footballer with a lethal right foot and a decent left. He can score from any angle and has an unbelievable amount of strength. His balance and composure in front of goal is beautiful and his relentless press is terrifying.
It won’t be polarised that Aguero is the best striker or the greatest finisher, but it is certain that his legacy will outlive a lot of players of his generation. He is engrained in the ethos of the Manchester City project and for that I say, thank you Sergio.
Image: darrenleereid via flickr