Sergio Agüero has just bagged his 200th goal in the Man City blue. JAMIE GARWOOD takes us back to when it all began
It’s August 2011, and Sergio Agüero has just signed for Manchester City for £35m from Atlético Madrid. For years, Manchester United had been the envy of many sides not least their cross-city rival who had to endure unparalleled success at Old Trafford, as well as witnessing quality strikers such as the Andy Cole & Dwight Yorke tandem, super-sub Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo to name but a few.
The only way for City to compete was to open the cheque book, leading to the purchases of Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli and, finally, Agüero. The Argentine arrived at City under a wave of heightened anticipation and mythology due to his kinship with Diego Maradona having been married to, and having a baby with, the legend’s daughter.
The debut coincided with the first Monday Night Football of the season on Sky Sports, as City hosted a Swansea City under the guardianship of Brendan Rodgers. New signing Agüero was only deemed fit enough to start the game on the bench but entered the fray after 59 minutes, two minutes after Dzeko’s opener.
Only 10 minutes into his the Argentine converted a Micah Richards cross at the far post to show his poacher’s instinct, but it was the moments preceding that which had the mouth watering. His fearlessness when it came to running at defenders with the ball at his feet, despite his slight frame, marked him out as something special, coupled with the nous to be able to become invisible and be unmarked at the far post to sweep it home.
Then, he showed his touch and ability to not give up on balls, he lobbed a ball over an advancing Michel Vorm and with the touchline approaching he kept the ball in play, dropping it to the six-yard box where David Silva stroked it home in a forerunner for their telepathic understanding.
With the game won and in injury time, Agüero was allowed to show his final piece in a superb all-round performance, again with the ball at this feet he approached the Swansea goal and he let fly from fully 30 yards and the ball sailed past Vorm into the far corner; a lovely dipping shot that brought the crowd to their feet to mark a new City idol.
In this season, Aguero would score 23 league goals, culminating in the most important goal in Manchester City history as his goal in the 94th minute on the last day of the season versus Queens Park Rangers crowned City as champions with the last kick of the game in the most dramatic ending in Premier League history.
Agüero has gone on to score a now record 200 goals for Manchester City surpassing the previous highest total of 177 set by Eric Brook during last season. Agüero remains a striker’s striker, adored by many and all around the country and held in great esteem by his peers – although he has only once received enough nominations to make the PFA Team of the Season.
When you look back on that night, it strikes you as a microcosm of transition and change. Manchester City had money from new owners to burn, and had the abundance of new signings at their disposal and yet only three players still exist in City’s squad from that day – Agüero, Silva and captain Vincent Kompany. Even on Swansea’s side, Rodgers has moved on and the Welsh side are now on their seventh different full-time manager since he left for Liverpool. They are now in the Championship.
Following that evening at the Etihad, few knew that nine months later the greatest ending to a season and the greatest moment in Manchester City’s history would come from the laces of Agüero. But in a short, sharp appearance the Argentinian gave notice of his ability and intent to make sparks fly, and that he did.