At times, for the country, some of the best players of a generation just don’t achieve the accolades; rather, they end up being the icons of a club they represent. In the ear of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, there had been so many stars whose brightness was outshone by the aura of invincibility of these two. Back in Argentina, Lionel Messi is still the symbol of hope, while the achievements of someone like Sergio Aguero are easily forgotten – meanwhile, in Manchester City, the man is Demi-God.
— Sergio Kun Aguero (@aguerosergiokun) March 29, 2021
Sergio Aguero is more famously known as Kun Aguero. He wears “Kun” on his shirt, a childhood nickname based on the title character from the cartoon Kum-Kum. From a poverty-stricken background to achieving the legendary status at the Eithad, Aguero has come a long way.
Right now, the sun is setting.
Aguero will walk away from Manchester City in the summer with golden memories and an “indestructible bond” with the club’s supporters.
You have given football fans in this country so much to remember: goals, guile and the greatest Premier League moment of them all. Well played and good wishes for whatever comes next. Gracias por todo. Espero que tengas mucha suerte. https://t.co/WDlViCB7Cu
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) March 29, 2021
The Argentina international, who will be 33 in June, will not have his contract renewed as both parties look to the future.
Leonel, Adriana and the birth of Aguero
Leonel Del Castillo, and Adriana Aguero, who were 17 and 19 respectively, moved 800 miles from their family homes in Tucuman to the Argentine capital.
At that age, they already had their first child known as Jessica.
They went in search of a new life and new opportunities, but all they were immediately able to get their hands on was a plot of land owned by Leonel’s step-brother, 50 meters from the polluted Las Viboras river in the run-down Gonzalez Catan district.
Leonel started to build from the scratches left.
The home was near a Potrero and Leonel was handy enough for clubs to pay for his services during weekend tournaments.
Those games, combined with other odd-jobs around the area, were just about enough to provide a basic income for the family, but those resources were soon stretched even further when they discovered Adriana was already pregnant with their second child by the time they had left Tucuman.
March 1988 – a heavy storm devastated Buenos Aires.
The ferocity of the storm caused the polluted river that ran past the makeshift Aguero-Del Castillo home to burst its banks.
The family rode out an initial flood – despite knee-high water inside the house.
Two weeks later the storm showed up again!
Despite their fears that the empty house would be looted, the young family had no choice but to be evacuated when water levels reached up to a meter.
Twenty-four people were killed and 57,000 others, including the Aguero-Del Castillos, were moved to safety as a result of the floods.
Like thousands of fellow evacuees, Leonel, Adriana and Jessica spent two weeks sleeping on mattresses on the floor of a religious school before they were allowed to return home.
Well, their house was looted.
Adriana’s waters broke, six and a half months into her pregnancy.
The local hospital was ill-equipped to deal with such scenarios, meaning a three-hour journey into Buenos Aires.
After taking two buses and a train, nurses at the Hospital Pinero informed Adriana that she should try to elongate the pregnancy for as long as possible by resting on the maternity ward. Having initially expected to stay for a matter of days, Adriana was laid up in bed for the best part of two months, with no other patients for a company and just an empty courtyard to look at from her window.
Leonel, balancing work, football and looking after Jessica, visited often, but Adriana spent most of those two months shedding tears lonely.
Not even allowed to walk around her own room, she spent much of her time speaking to nurses and reading maternity magazines, making her something of an expert on delivery methods and new-born babies.
Having celebrated her 18th birthday while in hospital, she was discharged two weeks before her original due date. Within days, she went into labour and had to repeat the three-hour journey back, this time walking the final 300 meters up a steep hill and a flight of stairs.
Almost as soon as she was given a bed, a doctor informed her that the baby was stuck and she would be unable to give birth unless action was taken. He suggested forceps be used to change its position but, having read the maternity books and spoken to other mothers during her earlier time on the ward, Adriana refused; she believed the babies looked crushed.
She was informed the only alternative was to perform an episiotomy on her and to fracture her child’s collarbone.
After being reassured, she decided to go with the latter, considerably more painful, approach.
A few moments late – Sergio Aguero was born.
The young Aguero
“My father made a lot of sacrifices,” Aguero said in an interview.
“I was only six or seven years old and he dedicated himself to taking me to the clubs and different areas until I went to Independiente at the age of eight.”
“He always accompanied me, and obviously I’m extremely grateful to him. There are a lot of kids who have to go on their own and in the end, they have to stop because these places are far away.”
Leonel and Adriana had to change residents more often.
But wherever they settled, there had been a potrero – that would have a huge impact in shaping up the future of Aguero.
It was in Florencio Varela, where Aguero first experienced life on the potrero, accompanying Leonel, who was an avid football follower and decent player, to his matches, and as a toddler even picking up the colourful languages which take place on the pitch during altercations.
It was also in Florencio Varela where his famous nickname was bestowed upon him. Leonel had managed to scrape together enough money for a 14-inch television and allowed Aguero to watch endless repeats of ‘Wanpaku Omukashi Kumu Kumu’, a Japanese cartoon about a Stone Age family whose son would run amok around the local mountains and forests.
The youngster was captivated, perhaps ensuring his first attempts to form words sounded like ‘koo’ or ‘kum’. It was a neighbour, Jorge Chetti, one of the Aguero-Del Castillos’ first friends in Buenos Aires, who insists he was the first to call the boy ‘Kun’.
The family moved to Los Eucaliptus but the nickname was stuck till today.
At the age of five, Aguero started to play football for money –he and his family needed such.
The people around him started to realize, he was good enough and deserves more.
And it was while he was with Leonel at tournaments on the potrero that he first secured opportunities to join a club. Twice during impromptu games with friends on the sidelines, he was spotted by youth scouts and signed up.
It was under the guidance of Jorge ‘the Baker’ Ariza, coincidentally the man who had made the cake for his fourth birthday, that he took his first serious steps towards a career in the game, with Primero de Mayo.
Sergio quickly made a name for himself around some of the most prestigious youth leagues and competitions in Argentina; scoring four, five or six goals in one short game became regularity.
Coaches noticed that from an early age he was shrewd – and confident – enough to order his team-mates around. Backed up by his partner in crime up front, Cristian Formiga, and goalkeeper Emiliano Molina, who boasted an incredibly long goal kick, Aguero’s teams rarely lost.
“I just thought about playing football. I would watch TV and see Primera teams and the only thing I said was I want to be there. Nothing more. I didn’t think about Europe, about any big club. I could never imagine it, I just wanted to play and make it at a team in the Argentine Primera Division.”
Short but stocky, still garnered enough pace and dribbled past the opponents to score – the ability that would charm Eithad in the coming days.
The days at Independiente
“When I arrived at Independiente, they told me there was a phenomenon in the academy. One day I called him in to train with the first team and he killed everyone. He convinced us immediately.”
Oscar Ruggeri, former Independiente coach
Aguero joined the youth system of Independiente at the age of nine. He started playing for the side, becoming the youngest player to debut in the first division at 15 years and 35 days in 2003 when Independiente’s coach, Oscar Ruggeri sent Aguero onto the field as a substitute for Emanuel Rivas in the 69th minute of the match.
His performance was well-received by the press.
Despite his early debut, he was not selected again by Ruggeri, and his replacement Osvaldo Sosa, for the remainder of the 2002–03 season, having made only one appearance in the Torneo Clausura. Following the arrival of coach Jose Omar Pastoriza, seven months after Aguero’s first match he returned to the club’s first-team in a 4–2 win against Peru’s Cienciano during the group stages of the 2004 Copa Libertadores.
This meant that he also became the youngest player to participate in the Copa Libertadores, a record that he held for three years.
One month later, Aguero again featured in a Copa Libertadores fixture against Ecuador’s El Nacional. On 19 June, for the first time, Aguero played a full 90-minute match for Independiente against Atlético de Rafaela during the Torneo Clausura.
He scored his first goal for Independiente in a 2–2 draw against Estudiantes on November 26, with a 22nd minute shot from outside the penalty area.
Aguero became a regular in the club’s first-team, being selected for the Argentina Under-20 squad for the 2005 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which Argentina won.
During the 2005–06 season, Aguero scored 18 goals in 36 league appearances, having missed two games due to suspension. In a 4–0 win against Racing on 11 September, he dribbled from inside of his own half and scored Independiente’s fourth goal with a left-footed shot.
His first red card came in the Torneo Apertura, after slapping an opponent in a match against Tiro Federal.
His outstanding performances during the Torneo Apertura attracted interest from a number of large European clubs, and, after months of speculation, Aguero announced on TV in April that he intended to leave the club at the end of the season. Before the end of the season, there had already been speculation of a possible transfer to Atletico Madrid.
The striker in Atletico Madrid
“Playing with him was one reason I joined Atletico Madrid. I’d first seen him on television in Argentina, where he made his debut aged 15 for my old team Independiente. A boy stood out against men. He scored one goal in a derby and I jumped up off the sofa in astonishment. Aguero has a natural instinct for scoring goals.”
Diego Forlan, former Atletico teammate.
The year 2006 witnessed the end of a glorious era and the beginning of new.
Plenty of youngsters were joining some of the top clubs in Europe to make a mark and Aguero was one of them.
In May 2006, Aguero joined Spanish club Atletico Madrid for a fee reported to be around €20 million, breaking the club’s previous transfer record.
He triggered controversy early in his Atletico career by using his hands to score the winning goal against Recreativo de Huelva – only his second goal for the club, with the first coming in a 4–1 away win against Athletic Bilbao.
He ended his first season in Madrid with seven goals in all competitions, eased into European football by manager Javier Aguirre, who opted to bring him in and out of the line-up as Atletico finished seventh, enough to qualify for the UEFA Intertoto Cup.
Following the departure of strike partner Fernando Torres to Liverpool in the summer of 2007, Aguero secured his starting spot for the Rojiblancos and soon became arguably the team’s most important player at the age of just 19.
In the 2007–08 season, he finished third-highest scorer in La Liga, behind Daniel Guiza and Luis Fabiano, with 19 goals, and was runner up in the Trofeo Alfredo Di Stefano award.
Aguero won many plaudits for his man of the match display against Barcelona in March 2008, scoring twice, assisting a goal and winning a penalty for Atletico in a 4–2 win.
In the 2008-09 season, Aguero had been on the scoring sheet consistently and established a lethal partnership with the legendary Diego Forlan, who was also a former Independiente player.
He scored his first Champions League goals in a 3–0 away win at PSV, helping Atletico eventually reach the last 16 of the competition.
In La Liga, Forlan and Aguero each scored a brace in a 4–3 win over the Barcelona of Messi, the latter scoring the winning goal in the match’s final minutes. With the help of more vital goals in a formidable end of the season run-in from his team, Aguero finished in the top ten contenders for the Pichichi Trophy, which was won by his teammate Forlan.
The 2009-10 season was another memorable one for Aguero where his goal-scoring abilities remained consistent. Atleti reached the finals of the UEFA Europa League where they beat Fulham in extra-time by 2-1: Aguero assisted both the goals. He also helped Atletico reach the final of the Copa del Rey, although this time they were not victorious, losing to Sevilla in the Camp Nou.
In 2010, Atletico Madrid captured the UEFA Super Cup by beating favorites Internazionale 2–0. Agüero provided the assist for José Antonio Reyes’ opening goal and then secured the win by scoring the second.
The 2010–11 season was arguably Aguero’s most successful for Atletico, as he scored 20 league goals for the first time in his career. Between March and May 2011, he went on a run of seven consecutive goal-scoring appearances, a feat that no other player in Europe could match during the season.
Aguero’s final outing for Atletico came on 21 May against Mallorca, a game in which he reached two milestones. In a 4–3 win, he scored his first career hat-trick, the second goal being his 100th for the Colchoneros.
Failure to celebrate any of the goals, however, led to speculation that he would be on his way out of the club.
The legend of Manchester City
In 2011, Agüero announced on his official website that he wanted to move from Atlético and formally asked to be released from his contract.
Aguero later spoke to ESPN, where he stated that he would “not be returning to Atletico Madrid.
On July 28 2011, Manchester City confirmed that Aguero had signed a five-year contract with the club. The fee was reported to be in the region of £35 million.
He was given the number 16 shirt for his first season at City and wears the shirt name, Kun Aguero.
Manchester City sign striker Sergio Aguero from Atletico Madrid on five-year contract. More on SSN…
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 28, 2011
He was an unused substitute in the Dublin Super Cup match against Internazionale and the 2011 FA Community Shield against Manchester United with manager Roberto Mancini believing Aguero was not yet fit.
Aguero made his debut for City on 15 August 2011 in a 4–0 Premier League victory over Swansea City. Aguero came on as a substitute in the 59th minute, scoring his first goal for the club within nine minutes after a tap-in from a cross from full-back Micah Richards. He then turned provider with an assist after chipping over the oncoming goalkeeper before flicking the ball back into the penalty box and into the path of David Silva to score.
Aguero rounded off his debut by scoring again in injury time with a 30-yard strike.
His 30-minute debut for City hinted at a great decade for City in the Premier League.
The legendary final game of the 2011-12 season
“Agüerooooooooo! I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again!” commentator Martin Tyler famously yelled when, with 93:20 on the clock, City’s No10 scored the goal against Queens Park Rangers in May 2012 that helped City win their first top-flight championship since 1968.
“In my career so far it’s the most important goal. You score the goal in the last minute to win the title. You’re not sure if that’s ever going to happen in your career again. I wish I could tell you how I did it but I can’t. I thought for all the world that Mario [Balotelli] was going to have a go himself but he just moved it on one more and it fell at my feet and I just thought: ‘Hit the target, hit it as hard as you can and hit the target.’ And it went in.”
Sergio Agüero, on his last-minute goal against Queens Park.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 29, 2021
Five straight wins helped City wipe out the eight-point deficit against United, and they went into the final day’s fixtures leading on goal difference.
Facing relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers, City needed to match or better United’s result at Sunderland.
By the 66th minute, QPR’s Joey Barton was sent off after elbowing Agüero’s teammate, Carlos Tevez in the face. Eventually, after being shown the red card, Barton proceeded to kick Agüero’s knee, then attempted to attack Vincent Kompany, only for him to be held back by Micah Richards.
Despite that, QPR still went ahead 2–1 against City, while United were 1–0 up against Sunderland.
In response, manager Roberto Mancini sent on strikers Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli in an attempt to get the two goals City now needed for the title.
Five minutes of injury time began for City with their and United’s match scores still constant.
Dzeko equalized for City for a glimmer of hope, but United soon finished their own game with a victory.
In the 94th minute, Aguero, receiving the ball from Balotelli, drove into the penalty area and placed a powerful low shot into the corner of the goal – the rest is history!
Agüero’s goal sent the City of Manchester Stadium into a frenzy and he was dragged to the floor jubilantly by his City teammates. Vincent Kompany recalled that Aguero was crying on the floor.
That moment made Aguero the most loved one in City and the star, which they needed.
In the 2012-13 season City surrendered their title to arch-rivals Manchester United, but in that season he scored a beauty – he scored a solo goal to give City the win in the Manchester derby in the 78th minute, seven minutes after coming on as a substitute for Samir Nasri.
The Times reported that he was the main transfer target of Spanish giants Real Madrid, but Aguero responded by saying, “I’m very happy at City and I feel appreciated and loved here which means a lot to me.”
Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano also negated the idea of a transfer, insisting Agüero would stay at the City of Manchester Stadium.
However, former Argentina international Diego Maradona backed him to join Real Madrid, believing Aguero’s presence in the Madrid team could help get even more out of Cristiano Ronaldo.
In 2013, Agüero signed a one-year extension to his contract, keeping him at Manchester City until 2017.
Aguero stated his commitment to Manchester City saying, “I’m committed to Manchester City, it’s a great club.”
He bagged 12 goals from 30 matches in that season of 2012-13.
In 2013-14, he scored six goals in five matches for City as the club reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Meanwhile, after scoring his ninth and tenth goals of the league season in a 6–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, Aguero overtook Thierry Henry as the player with the highest goals-per-minute ratio in Premier League history.
He scored 17 goals from 23 games in that season.
Wayne Rooney scored 253 goals in his time at Manchester United.
Sergio Aguero has scored 254 goals since he's been at Manchester City.
Which striker was better in their prime?
🔁 Wayne Rooney
❤️ Sergio Aguero pic.twitter.com/KRSVSPJvOV
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) March 29, 2021
In 2014 Aguero signed a new five-year contract to keep him at Manchester City until 2019.
Aguero scored a hat-trick in City’s 3–2 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage on 25 November, starting with a penalty which he won himself.
Five days later, in his 100th Premier League match, he was wrongly booked for simulation by referee Mike Jones after being fouled by José Fonte in the penalty area, although City went on to defeat Southampton 3–0.
On 2 December, Agüero was named the Football Supporters’ Federation Player of the Year for 2014.
He was also awarded Premier League Player of the Month for November 2014, a month in which he scored three league goals and assisted two more.
In Manchester City’s final match of the season against Southampton, Aguero scored his 26th league goal of the season, ending 2014–15 with the Premier League Golden Boot.
He switched to number 10 short from 16 before the start of next season.
On October 3 2015, Aguero scored five goals against Newcastle in a 6–1 comeback win, joining Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov in scoring as many in a Premier League game.
His five goals within 23 minutes of game time made it the fastest five-goal haul since the Premier League started in 1992.
A city legend for ever 💙 pic.twitter.com/buAV29lEAj
— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) March 29, 2021
He scored his 100th Premier League goal in a 1–1 draw at Newcastle. He reached the century in 147 games, second only to Alan Shearer who did so in 124.
The goal was also Aguero’s sixth against Newcastle for the season, making his just the sixth player in the Premier League era have scored six goals against the same club in a single campaign.
Aguero ended the 2015–16 Premier League season with 24 goals, one behind Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and level with Jamie Vardy.
However, with his goals coming from 30 appearances, Aguero recorded the league’s best goals to minute ratio.
By then, Pep Guardiola would join City as the manager and Aguero was an integral part of his plans.
Sergio Aguero has scored as many PL hat-tricks as Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona, Dennis Bergkamp, Daniel Sturridge, Jurgen Klinsmann, Gianluca Vialli, Louis Saha, Gareth Bale, Roberto Firmino, Samuel Eto'o, Stan Collymore & Olivier Giroud combined
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) March 29, 2021
“He’s a legend, and it’s a part of history in the club. Aguero’s numbers speak for themselves – he is amazing,” said Guardiola.
He scored 20 goals from 31 matches in the 2016-17 season, 21 goals from 25 matches in the 2017-18 season 21 goals from 33 matches in 2018-19 season and 16 goals from 24 matches in the 2019-20 season.
With the progression of time, Aguero started to lose his tenacity and injuries were taking a heavy toll on him.
After glorious ten years at the Manchester City, the Argentine striker decided to call the day in Sky Blue Shirt.
Aguero was keen to stay but has started just five Premier League and Champions League matches this season after being troubled by illness and injury.
After suffering a knee injury in the first game of Project Lockdown in June, he had surgery which ruled him out until October.
Sergio Aguero at Man City
🏆🏆🏆🏆 Premier League
🏆 FA Cup
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 EFL Cup
🏆🏆🏆 Community Shield pic.twitter.com/VLV4uIT9HW
— Goal (@goal) March 29, 2021
He then had a hamstring setback and missed another 10 games because of coronavirus regulations and has been struggling to prove his match sharpness.
With 257 goals from 384 appearances, Aguero is the club’s record goal-scorer overtaking Eric Brook’s 78-year record in 2017 and City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak confirmed a statue of him has been commissioned.
He is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history – and fourth overall – and has won 10 major trophies during his time at the Etihad Stadium, including four Premier League titles.
Aguero has his ups and downs in an Argentine shirt, but in City, he has fulfilled the dreams of many.
Sergio Aguero is truly the legend of Manchester City.