Legends are individuals who are extremely famous and have impacted their field of endeavor. Their names never fade away even when they transit from the earth. Manchester City over the years has got some amazing legends. They have made the club so popular since its inception. Colin Bell, Francis Lee, Dennis Tueart, Mike Summerbee, Peter Doherty, Bert Trautmann, Asa Hartford, Uwe Rosler, Shaun Goater, Vincent Kompany, David Silva…The list of Legends goes on and on.
Backtrack to the year 2012. Precisely on the 13th of May, 2012, Manchester City was trailing QPR 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium in a must-win game, to secure the EPL title after a 44 years wait. Time was ticking away, and with less than 10 minutes on the clock, the frustration of losing the title to arch-rivals Manchester United was too bitter to swallow.
Fans on the stand were already in agony. Manchester City needed a savior. The resurgence started with an equalizing goal by Edin Dzeko in the 91st minutes. There was palpable tension in the City technical area, as Roberto Mancini was pacing up and down the touchline. There were just 5 minutes left of extra time, and Manchester City needed someone who could do the impossible. Up stepped Nigel De Jong who made a decisive pass from midfield to Mario Balotelli on the edge of the QPR penalty area.
The Italian striker had never made any previous assist in his City career, but on this occasion, as he received the pass, he tried to maneuver his way but stumbled. When it seemed he was almost been dispossessed of the ball, Mario stretched all the muscles on his right leg and made the all-important pass to Kun Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine international skipped past QPR defender Taye Taiwo in the 96th minute and hammered an unstoppable shot into the lower right of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. Football commentator Martin Tyler captured the moment in one of the most dramatic final games of the English Premier League.
“Manchester City are still alive here..Balotelli…Agueroooooooooooo!! I swear you will never see anything like this again. So watch it, drink it in”.
There was a commotion at the Etihad as the ball went in. The sound of euphoric City fans echoed to the stadium of Light where United was waiting for some good news. It was shock and disbelief that was etched on the faces of sir Alex Ferguson and his United players. They had just defeated Sunderland 1-0 and the belief was that Manchester City may slip up at home.
Sergio Aguero became an instant Legend. His name was etched in gold. The young and the old poured into the Etihad pitch at the blast of the final whistle. There were tears everywhere. It was the tears of joy.
Fast forward to 9 years later, and the much-revered striker who is now 32 and at the end of his current City contract seems to have lost a bit of the spark that saw him emerged as the best striker in the league.
Statistics don’t lie
The City legend has broken some incredible records since his debut against Swansea City on the 15th of July 2011.
** Highest number of hat-tricks in Premier League history (12)
** The Most goals scored in the last decade (174)
** Most goals/assists against other EPL top six sides (54 goals/ 12 assists)
** Winner of the most player of the Month(POTM) Awards (7)
** Highest foreign goal scorer (180)
Over the past few months, however, there has been speculation about his replacement, as Gabriel Jesus who is his striking partner is not seen as a long-term replacement for the City legend. Names like Erling Haaland of Borrusia Dortmund of Germany, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan of Italy, and lately Danny Ings of Southampton of England. The obvious target is Erling Haaland, the 1.94m tall Norwegian striker who has set the Bundesliga on fire with goals.
Injuries have hampered Sergio all through his City career, and as he gets older, the injuries have seemingly slowed him down. In the 2019/2020 season, Sergio missed 20 matches, the most he had missed since moving to the blue side of Manchester. His injury woes include Calf, hamstring, knee problem, Thigh problem, groin, and muscular problems.
Unfortunately, Legends don’t say goodbye. City faithful aren’t ready to let go of their Argentine talisman. The fairy tale that started in 2011 seems to be coming gradually grinding to a halt. The possibility of an extension to his current contract is high, but the City hierarchy is planning for the inevitable.
The top priority this coming transfer window will be to get a long-term replacement for a man who has shown his loyalty, love, and respect for Manchester City. In an exclusive interview he had with an Argentine Newspaper four years ago, Sergio poured out his innermost feelings about the club:
“I am very happy at City, very happy since the day I came. I knew that the project was good, and in my head, there is nothing else but Manchester City, so how long I’m going to be at City is just never a question”