Will it be a glorious goodbye for Sergio Aguero? Man City’s greatest scorer will bow out in the club’s biggest EVER game… and despite injuries and problems with Pep, he could eclipse that goal against QPR with a winner in the Champions League final
- Sergio Aguero is approaching his final game as a Manchester City player
- The Argentine’s spectacular City career will come to an end on Saturday night
- His final game, no less, will be the Champions League final against Chelsea
- Aguero proved on Sunday that he still has a point to prove despite the injuries
- Now, in City’s biggest game, he can cement himself as the ultimate club legend
Sergio Aguero’s farewell tour with Manchester City is just 90 minutes away from having the fairytale ending he deserves, where he will bow out in the club’s biggest ever game.
On Saturday evening, Pep Guardiola’s men will take part in the club’s first-ever Champions League final, meeting fellow Premier League outfit Chelsea in the Porto showpiece.
The biggest game in European club football comes less than a week after Aguero played his final game as a City player at the Etihad, with the 10,000 match-going fans treated to a spectacular brace from their greatest ever goalscorer.
Sergio Aguero is approaching his final game as a Manchester City player
Not only that, his two goals off the bench in the 5-0 rout of Everton saw him break the Premier League record for most goals by a player for one club – and he did it in the final minute.
Scripts like this are normally written in Hollywood, but in Manchester they are accustomed to fairytale finishes where Aguero is concerned.
It was just over nine years ago when the Argentine was at the heart of one of the most dramatic endings in Premier League history, scoring a title-winning goal for City in the dying moments, completing a 3-2 comeback victory over QPR on the final day to deny rivals Manchester United the trophy in unthinkable circumstances.
Commentator Martin Tyler said it best after Aguero rippled the back of the net in stoppage time to win the club their first-ever Premier League title: ‘I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again.’
The Argentine secured legendary status at City with his title-winning goal against QPR
The stadium erupted as Aguero scored the goal that won City their first Premier League title
It was City’s first title since the 60s in one of the most dramatic final days ever seen
And you most probably won’t.
The stars aligned perfectly that day for Aguero, with his last-gasp goal against QPR turning him into a City legend on the spot, less than a year after joining.
Now, 260 goals later, he will be remembered as one of the greatest to have ever pulled on the light blue shirt.
‘That goal for me is the most important of my life. All the time, I watch that game and my family too, and my son. I think that goal will be all the time in [my] head,’ Aguero told Sky Sports when remembering that magical moment in 2012.
‘When I touched [the ball] before the goal, I thought “ok, maybe it’s a penalty”, the centre-back touched but not strongly, just a little bit. And then I thought “I just have to shoot” and when I shoot, the decision is to always shoot at strong as possible to the first post and I had to be lucky. Then for two or three days, I didn’t believe it.
The departing City striker was seen visiting a new mural in the city’s Northern Quarter
Aguero was presented with a mosaic of himself at the club’s training ground last week
‘For us, it was a little bit nervous because we had to win but what happened in the second half, when I looked at the time, it was 88 minutes and it was 2-1, I thought “no, I can’t believe it”.’
While his record-breaking brace during last Sunday’s win won’t hold as much significance compared to his heroics back in 2012 – the second-half performance will remain as an emotional one for the club’s supporters.
Fittingly, Aguero has only ever come off the bench to score a brace once before for City – which came on his debut for the club against Swansea City back in 2011.
The brilliant first goal against Everton followed by a superb injury-time header for his second would be a fantastic way to round off his decade-long stint at the club, but for the 32-year-old, there is still one last bit of history to be made.
Aguero was given a guard of honour by his City team-mates on the final day of the season
He scored twice in the 5-0 win over Everton, including this header, after coming on as a sub
City’s record goalscorer was given a fitting send-off as he bid farewell to the Etihad
Aguero is expected to start Saturday’s final on the bench at the Estadio do Dragao, just like he did against Everton, before being brought on as a super-sub to make an almighty impact against Thomas Tuchel’s side – again, just like against Everton.
Rumblings of a falling out with Guardiola were swept under the rug last weekend when Aguero received a guard of honour from his City team-mates before kick-off, where he then acknowledged his manager before taking a seat in the stands.
Reports from The Athletic claimed that the Argentina international went weeks without speaking to Guardiola in March, with Aguero angry that he wasn’t awarded a new deal by the Catalan boss.
While injuries have kept the forward out for large parts of the season, the feeling that there was friction between player and manager lasted a few months given that he failed to feature most of the time despite claiming to be fully fit.
However, despite their apparent differences in the last few months, the pair embraced one another during City’s title celebrations.
Aguero will go down as a City legend, having won 15 trophies during his 10 years at the club
Guardiola became visibly emotional when speaking after the game about Aguero’s departure, insisting City will never be able to replace him.
‘We love him so much,’ the teary-eyed manager said. ‘He is a special person for all of us. He is so nice, he is so nice. He helped me a lot, he’s so good.
‘We cannot replace him. We cannot.
‘They are many players we have had to discard like him, Joe Hart and David Silva, who have helped us this club to be what it is.
‘He came on today showed his quality for 30 minutes.’
Guardiola became visibly emotional as he paid tribute to Aguero following Sunday’s game
Aguero and Guardiola embraced on the pitch as City celebrated their fifth Premier League title
His cameo appearance may have been enough to make Guardiola’s mind up when it comes to his Champions League final game-plan.
Using him once again as the ultimate super-sub may not be how Aguero would’ve dreamt his final appearance would go, but should he make the same impact as he did last weekend – which he has shown he is more than capable of – then anything is possible.
During his time as a professional, Chelsea is the club he’s featured against most – and it makes for some promising reading for City.
In the 22 appearances he’s featured against Chelsea, Aguero has won 12 of the meetings, lost six and has scored a total of 15 goals, providing three assists.
Newcastle are the only other team he has been more prolific against, and he’ll be aiming to add to his total against the Blues if given the chance.
However, context is key when it comes to this fixture as of late.
He will be looking for redemption against Chelsea, having missed an awful panenka attempt
The Argentine apologised to fans after missing the penalty, where they lost 2-1 to the Blues
In their FA Cup semi-final meeting last month, Chelsea got the better of City at Wembley, with Hakim Ziyech scoring a second-half winner to stop Guardiola’s men from securing a quadruple.
Three weeks later, in what was their dress rehearsal for this weekend’s final, Tuchel bettered Guardiola again, with Chelsea coming from behind to beat City 2-1 at the Etihad – with Aguero painfully missing a panenka on the stroke of half-time which would’ve put City 2-0 ahead.
That awful miss from the spot ultimately didn’t cost City the league title, which they went on to wrap up days later after United failed to beat Leicester.
Now redemption is on the cards for Aguero and there will be no room for experimentation if and when he gets the nod from Guardiola.
And it all comes back to that winner against Queens Park Rangers – he was the right man in the right place for the big occasion.
Now Aguero has the chance to win the Champions League – and perhaps eclipse that QPR goal
Aguero’s legacy at City will remained untouched no matter what the outcome in Portugal, given that title-winning strike will go down in footballing history for obvious reasons.
But should he score the winner for City to clinch their first ever Champions League trophy, he will leave the Etihad as a god.
As the hours tick down to kick-off on Saturday, Aguero will be drafting up another Hollywood-worthy script on how to write himself into football folklore once again.
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