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Sergio Agüero

Aguero will be remembered as a Man City legend both on and off the field

10:00 PM MYT 15/12/2021
Sergio Aguero Manchester City 2020-21
The Argentine announced his retirement on Wednesday after a career that saw him shatter numerous Premier League records while at the Etihad Stadium

The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish may have starred for Manchester City against Leeds on Tuesday evening, but there was only one name that home fans truly roared around the Etihad Stadium.

Sergio Aguero.

With it all-but confirmed that Aguero would announce his retirement on Wednesday, City supporters wanted to show for one last time during his playing career just how much they love their Argentine hero.

The greatest goalscorer in the club's history, the greatest collection of medals of any City player, the greatest single moment in Premier League history, and, for many, simply the greatest.

"The facts speak for themselves - Sergio is quite simply the most ruthless striker in the history of the Premier League," City chariman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said following Aguero's confirmation that he would be hanging up his boots.

"It is extraordinary that his statistics, more reflective of two careers, are in fact those of a player whose time in the game was cut short.

"His impact lives not only in the club that we are today, but in the club that we will be for many years to come. He has earned the adoration of the City family, and the respect of the football family the world over."

Aguero's impact was incredible at the Etihad Stadium, from scoring twice on his debut as a substitute against Swansea City, to his last league appearance against Everton 10 years later, where he again scored twice off the bench.

His final match for City ended in tears when they were beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League final, denying him the only medal he was missing and so desperately wanted.

But his legendary status was already secured.

A total of 260 goals is a club record by a considerable distance, while he is City's most decorated player in their history, with five Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups, one FA Cup and three Community Shields to his name.

Then there was the small matter of the most dramatic and unforgettable moment in Premier League history: that 94th-minute goal against QPR on the final day of the 2011-12 campaign that delivered City's first title in 44 years while simultaneously snatching the crown away from bitter rivals Manchester United.

"He’s 33, he’s done everything in football," City midfielder Rodri said. "He doesn’t need to show much more.

"For me, he’s in the top three strikers in the last 50 years. People will remember him here, of course, as a legend."

Aguero's place at the forefront of City's history is secure, and will be commemorated by a statue to go alongside Vincent Kompany and David Silva outside the Etihad Stadium.

That goal against QPR was the most iconic, but there were so many other matches where he was pivotal. A crucial strike against Liverpool in the 2019 title race, Wembley goals against Chelsea and Arsenal, and a hat-trick against Bayern Munich to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 Champions League win, to name just a few.

No one in Premier League history has more hat-tricks than Aguero's 12. In fact, no one born outside of England has scored more Premier League goals than his 184.

Former City star Paul Lake, who was also forced to retire early, knows exactly what Aguero means to City fans.

"Sergio is someone close to the hearts of every City fan because of how he played, the goals that he scored, his attitude towards Manchester City, the fact that he loved the fans and obviously he scored that goal," Lake told GOAL. "It's a goal that people will remember for the rest of their lives.

"But it's not just Manchester City fans, he's given the game that moment and it's the most special moment we could ever imagine, and we're so grateful for it.

"As far as City fans are concerned, he's the greatest striker we've ever had. He's going to be worshipped forever and they're probably going to need an armed bodyguard just to get him in and out again!

"That's just the love and affection that City fans have got for him, and it's richly deserved."

Aguero was the most marketable player throughout his time City, with his striking good looks enhancing his brilliance on the pitch, and City sold more shirts with his name than any other. Corporate sponsors, too, queued up to have him promoting their products.

But he was adored by the people around the club, too, who will be devastated that his career has ended prematurely after a heart scare while playing for Barcelona.

The Argentina internatinoal made a huge impression off the field during his 10 years in Manchester, and there were tears among those who work behind the scenes when he walked away for the final time in the summer of 2021.

Funny and charming, Aguero was not always the most serious trainer, often taking to the pitches with his laces untied, while his diet was typically South American, with red meat and fizzy drinks staples as he entertained Spanish-speaking friends from City and clubs close by.

Then there was the cumbia dancing and constant joking around on the training pitch, which was easy for a player like Aguero who came alive on matchday.

When Pep Guardiola arrived, there was a fear that Aguero might find himself being eased out given he had not previously shown that he had the ability to lead the press, which had not been as important under Roberto Mancini or Manuel Pellegrini.

Aguero, though, just got better, scoring more goals than anyone under Guardiola while playing a major role in even more success.

Guardiola broke down in tears when the striker left the club, and it showed how much Aguero meant to him that he, along with City director of football, Txiki Begiristain, were in Barcelona for Aguero's emotional retirement announcement.

"He's a legend, the best striker this club has ever had for this century through the years," Guardiola said after Aguero's final home game.

"He is irreplaceable in the souls, in the hearts, in the minds of our fans, of our people, of the players that played alongside him and all the managers who worked with him."

The coronavirus pandemic meant there were only 10,000 people in the Etihad Stadium to say their goodbye on that day back in May.

Now, there will be a full house ready and waiting to welcome him back any time he wants to return.