If there is a player who most aptly represents the cool, clinical nature of Manchester City’s recent success, it’s Sergio Aguero. The Argentine international, who last season became the club’s all-time record goal scorer, has been at the forefront of City’s myriad triumphs since his arrival in 2011, claiming three Premier League titles and three League Cups in the seven seasons he’s been with the club — and doing it all with an irrepressible thirst for goals.
Aguero is a striker in the truest sense of the word, scoring goals through an almost perverse blend of beauty and brutality. Last month’s was his ninth Premier League treble, placing him just two behind Alan Shearer’s record of eleven.
Indeed, that statistic alone is enough to demonstrate what separates Aguero from many of his peers. He is a player whose hunger for goals can never be sated. As long as he’s on the pitch, Aguero won’t be satisfied with what he’s got, his eyes wide with intent — an addict in search of the next goal scoring high.
🤔 Will hat-trick hero Sergio Aguero surpass Alan Shearer? pic.twitter.com/Azh5d2LqVj
— City Watch (@City_Watch) August 21, 2018
Such is the talent that Aguero possesses that he is the current favourite on Paddy Power Premier League odds to finish as the top scorer this season, priced at 3/1.
Man City’s signing of Aguero in the summer of 2011 was something of a statement. Here was a player who had already scored over 100 goals for Atletico Madrid by the time he was 23, a genuine A-list talent who City, with their newfound riches, managed to lure to the North West of England when other destinations were undoubtedly more alluring. It was another statement that the club was building something set to last.
If Vincent Kompany has been the glue which has held the club together over the last decade, then Aguero has been the poster boy. After all, goals win games, and in the case of the Argentine, Premier League titles. The memory and subsequent legacy of *that* goal against Queens Park Rangers will never fade. Aguero’s name will forever be etched into the fabric of the club because of that goal alone, but the now 30 year-old has given so much more since then that he deserves to be talked about as one of the greatest to ever wear the sky-blue shirt.
There could be an argument still that Aguero has somewhat underachieved in terms of trophies won, an accusation often levelled at Manchester City as a whole. The failure thus far to win the Champions League hangs over the club like a cloud, and is an honour that players individually aspire to achieve more than any other. However, Man City’s collective underachievement in certain campaigns cannot be pinned to Aguero, who has averaged a total of 28 goals per season since his arrival.
Those kind of goal scoring levels are almost unparalleled over such a long period of time, but the question remains of whether, now that he’s entering his 30s, Aguero can maintain such impressive figures. Last season’s remarkable campaign under Pep Guardiola however, suggests that there is plenty of life left in the Argentine yet.
Aguero has been forced to somewhat alter his playing style under the Spaniard, to work harder for the good of the team and be more defensively minded even as a striker. Guardiola’s focus is always on the collective, and so Aguero has had to temper slightly the selfish nature that all strikers naturally, and rightfully, possess.
It could prove that this slight alteration in style, along with Guardiola’s preference to play with two strikers, could hinder Aguero’s chances of winning individual accolades. Given his consistently high scoring figures, his return of just one Premier League golden boot seems modest.
He has never won the PFA Player of the Year award. It’s as if Aguero’s ability and consistency is his downfall when it comes to individual appreciation. There is no element of surprise to Aguero scoring 30 goals in a season, thus more unexpectedly explosive performers are deemed more worthy of the award.
But every new season offers another chance to set new records, to exceed expectations and reach farther for that which has so far proved elusive. If Guardiola’s City can somehow surpass the levels they reached last season, who’s to say that Aguero can’t pick up that player of the year award.
The odds always seem stacked against strikers, as if because they’re the ones expected to score the goals, their exploits are rendered less significant than those in other positions. Harry Kane is yet to win the award either.
However, the reality is that a player’s legacy will always be defined by the trophies won with his team. It is right that Aguero’s focus should be on the collective efforts of his club — it is that selflessness that brought City such incredible success last season.
As long as that Champions League trophy remains in reach, the fire will always be in Sergio Aguero’s belly. If he continues to perform for his team the way he has done over the last seven years, the individual accolades will surely follow.