Farewell to the lightweight boxer who could score any goal

John Nicholson says farewell to Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero: the vicious bulldog, a lightweight boxer with those glorious buttocks.


Who’s this then?
Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo is a 5ft 8ins newly-retired striker born in Buenos Aires, Argentina who played for just four clubs: Independiente, Atlético Madrid, Manchester City and Barcelona. Having had to pack in the game at the age of 33 this week, Aguero ended on 685 games and 385 goals, which led to him being considered one of the greatest strikers of his generation. On top of this, he played 101 times for his country, scoring 41 more goals.

He ends his career with five Premier League titles, six League Cups, one FA Cup and a Europa League, as well as a Copa America for Argentina and a World Cup silver medal. Not a bad haul.

Independiente gave him his debut in 2002 when he was just 15 years old and he was on their books for four seasons but only played one full campaign: in 2005-06. His 18 strikes in 36 games saw Atlético Madrid come calling with €20million in a wheelbarrow – the most they’d ever paid for a player at the time – so they obviously really fancied him even though he was just 18.

Rightly so, as it turned out. Although his first season was one of his worst ever for goalscoring (seven in 42 games), once Fernando Torres left for Liverpool he became the main man, knocking in 101 goals in total across 234 games, twice scoring 27 in a campaign.

This caught the attention of Manchester City who were trying to be any good now that they were loaded. They turned up in Spain with £35million, slapped it down on the table and took him home under their arm.

What a purchase it was. He did more than most to turn the club into a force in world football, his huge number of goals driving them to five league titles. Until his final injury-hit season, he only scored fewer than 23 goals in one season out of 10, scoring over 30 on four occasions. His best year was 2016/17 when he netted 33. When he finally left for Barcelona he had played 390 games and scored 260 goals, 184 in the Premier League.

At Barcelona he played just five games, scoring once. Then during a game with Alavés, he suffered a cardiac arrhythmia and found himself short of breath. After further investigation, he was told he could not risk playing with this condition and would have to retire, which made Sergio cry. At just 33, he could’ve expected to have at least three or four more good years ahead of him, and he had only just started his two-year contract at Barca. It was something of a tragic end to such a stellar career.

Along the way he managed to marry and divorce Maradona’s daughter. This after he broke Maradona’s record of being the youngest player to debut in Argentina. Apparently his nickname, ‘Kun’ is due to his resemblance to a favourite character Kum-Kum from the anime Wanpaku Omukashi Kumu Kumu. OK, but why then isn’t his nickname Kum Kum?



Why the love?
Obviously, there are the hundreds of goals and general all-round indefatigability to be taken into account, but it is one goal, one very late goal for Manchester City against QPR that forever sealed him in so many people’s affections. It became ‘the Aguero moment’. It won them their first league title of The Big Money Era in the most dramatic way possible.

It was in many ways a goal typical of so many of Sergio’s. Hustle. Bustle. Quick feet. Bam. Goal. Despite only being 5ft 8ins he was such a strong, resilient striker, hard to dispossess. Recently, former Spurs and Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton described what it was like trying to defend against him and put his strength on the ball as his most important asset. Aguero would put his arm across you to shield you away from the ball and there was just no way past him. Once he was ahead of you, there was no way to get the ball back.

If you look at him, he has super powerful, very developed legs, which gave him great balance. He seemed centred and solid and had big, powerful buttocks on him, with the sort of rolling, arms out gait which made him seem wider than he is. The impression is of a silent but vicious bulldog which, if you don’t keep him securely locked behind a gate, will be out and at your throat. He’d have made a decent lightweight boxer.

As a player he was, in every other way, almost anonymous in English football media. This is vaguely incredible when you’re one of the best, most prolific strikers in such a high-profile league, but he just didn’t do many interviews and didn’t seem to do the celebrity lifestyle thing. He certainly didn’t even do decent haircuts. His top blonde blob thing looked done over the sink with a bottle of bleach, and he regularly sported that awful fag ash-coloured dye job; other times he had a pubic mound on his crown. All terrible style-free affairs, but in a way, that was what was so good about him. He didn’t look like a multi-multi millionaire. He didn’t have any airs or graces or play the big man. He, like us, had terrible taste.

His 260 goals made him City’s all-time greatest goalscorer. He could score any type of goal: left or right foot or header, from two yards or 20. But because of his low profile, there is a suggestion, or maybe a feeling, that he is somehow under-rated. He scored so many goals so often that it almost became unremarkable. Obviously, this is really unfair. Certainly if he was English this would not have been the case but we did take his brilliance somewhat for granted.

He was such an amazing goalscorer that if you picture him in your mind’s eye playing  football, all you see is him in the penalty area, hustling for the ball and burying it in the net. I literally have no idea what else he did. Could he cross the ball? Could he make slide-rule passes? Could he tackle? I have no idea. All I see him doing is scoring. Maybe that is the sign of the true goal machine.

However, the stats say he made 55 assists in the Premier League, 69 in his career, so that only adds to his status as his team’s most important player.

He had a fearless and unflinching approach to striking. Quick off the mark and with the ability to move across the grass with fast feet, while he never felt like a super fast sprinter, over short distances he moved like lightning. You certainly underestimated him at your peril because he was past you and gone in the blink of an eye. Add to that an inclination to hit the ball early as it came to him, often putting him in ahead of the opposition.

Fun fact: Sergio Aguero had a better assists per minute ratio in his career than Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney, Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona

— DanielWhite (@TheRealDanielW3) December 15, 2021


Four Great Moments
THAT goal:


A wonderful first-time strike:


At last, a Copa win – via a Kun header of all things:


Want to see all his City goals?


What the people say

‘The title-winning goal is the most amazing and emotional thing I’ve seen in football (outside the team I support). Wrote him off a few times and he always came back to score a load of goals.’

‘Chunky thighs, a beast against the top 6, made us City fans believe.’

‘His name is literally a meme. Aguerroooooooo. Hands down the best moment in football. Nothing more needs to be said really. The most likeable City player as well.’

Even as a Liverpool fan, I jumped up and screamed when he scored ‘that’ goal. Not so much in celebration but sheer amazement. Scared the bejesus out of my then 3 year old who cried his eyes out. Cheers Serge, sons crying.

— Nellyweb (@WolfgangWebber) December 17, 2021

‘For a striker of his profile, seemed a good bloke and didn’t really get in the news for any controversial stuff eg Tevez, Suarez. Great player, Great goal scorer.’

‘Goalscoring record is phenomenal and for all the money and big names along with Silva the most important signing for City. Genuinely world-class, stayed for the long-term and constantly delivered.’

‘The way he consistently came back from injuries to continue scoring goals was amazing.’

I don’t wish to talk about Sergio Aguero, he always brought the thunder against us pic.twitter.com/UIw5j6hm4e

— At The Bridge Pod (@AtTheBridgePod) December 17, 2021

‘He could only be South American, couldn’t he? Short, powerful build like Diego and Romario. Actually, he was very like Romario in making scoring goals look easy and the only thing to judge his performance on; touch the ball six times but score with three of them.’

‘Unquestionably one of the greatest strikers of his generation, and his was a generation packed with greatness, as well. A brilliant little dynamo of a player, very Romario-esque in the way he played the game. Short and stocky, but rapid and a ruthless finisher.’

‘Aguero has posters of Hal Robson-Kanu on his wall.’

My favourite Aguero period was alongside Forlan at Atletico Madrid, running from a bit deeper (ie not an outright “9”). I say this as this was my favourite period of football, so his name in that context conjures fond (if somewhat bittersweet) memories of my mid-late 20s.

— Stuart Dennis (@Stuart_Dennis) December 17, 2021


Future days
He holds Spanish citizenship so a life in the sun in some sort of expensive beachside villa seems very likely. What he’ll do in retirement isn’t known but he’s retired young, so there are a lot of years to fill. His net worth is estimated at $80million so he’ll not be short of cash unless he develops some very expensive habits. Surely there must be a role as a forward coach for him in Argentina or Spain. Then again, often the best strikers just can’t coach the artform that came as naturally to them as breathing.  For some reason, I can’t see him as a manager, but I don’t know why.

He will certainly never have to buy a drink in Manchester. And he will forever be remembered as one of the 2010 greats.

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