I can’t recall exactly when it became official, but Sergio Aguero is my favourite footballer. No doubt it started during Premier League matches in which Aguero ripped Spurs to shreds. He’s done this so often, that they all blur into one traumatically beautiful event. Up until their most recent three meetings, Aguero had scored 9 goals in 6 games against Tottenham. Whether from the penalty spot, inside or outside the box, there was nothing surer when Man City played Tottenham. A City win and a football clinic as presented by Sergio.
Spurs games against City were, for a half a decade from 2011-2015, horrific events for Tottenham fans. Apart from the one victorious aberration, the remaining encounters were mostly all demolitions in City’s favour. The vast number of goals they managed to repeatedly smash past us time after time, something both surreal and depressing. But amidst it all, I found a way to cope. And that way was Sergio. The 6-0 drubbing at the Etihad was perhaps the moment where Aguero fell in love with Spurs’ defensive frailties, and the game that truly confirmed my love for him. He would help me through these Hotspur horrors by juxtaposing them with his own beautiful football.
For if I could go into a contest fearing (and knowing deep down) that Spurs would be obliterated, at least I could also know that the probability of observing another Aguero masterclass was equally high. To fool myself into thinking that he alone was so good that it was just impossible for Spurs to compete. It wasn’t the other City players’ abilities or our own deficiencies, just him and his ability to make anyone look foolish. To cope with the shame and dissatisfaction with my team, I could secretly take comfort in watching the breathtaking Aguero in action.
Something about the way he moves, his low centre of gravity, his incredibly powerful lower half, his booming strikes on other side of the body. It’s like poetry in motion, the perfect striker. Somehow he even scores goals with his head, despite being vertically challenged. Diminutive, quick, clinical, explosive, all the superlatives wrapped in one. Most of all, he was the perfect man to take advantage of opposition mistakes in defence. And weren’t mistakes delivered in spades by Spurs’ defences of the early to mid 2010’s.
Recently and briefly, there were rumours that my team was interested in signing the Argentinian maestro. I could barely contain my excitement. For about 15 minutes the possibilities were amazing, my mind boggling at the thought of this incredible being appearing up front for the team I support. Of course, his fellow Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino put paid to that hope very quickly. And so emphatically that I couldn’t help but feel a little crushed. As if he’d taken away a small piece of my heart. And, in laughing off the suggestion of Aguero appearing in a Spurs shirt, burying all my hopes and dreams in the dust.
Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme. But it certainly was slightly deflating. My brief flirtations with the concept of Aguero fitting into our formation gone just as soon as they’d arrived. With Harry Kane playing off him, or in a dual striker role. Despite how unlikely this was always going to be, it was possibly the most exciting prospect I could hope in recent club history, other than the equally unlikely return of Gareth Bale. At a time when we were just starting to look like we couldn’t score goals too; in my mind Aguero was the perfect tonic.
There is more to it than that of course; his age, cost, wages, desire to actually represent Tottenham. Yet surely these are but minor issues…? So, I spent several minutes replaying the video of Pochettino’s emphatic response that rumours of Sergio’s arrival were nothing but 100% false. Trying to determine from his body language as to whether Poch was just surprised at the suggestion of him being attainable, or laughing at the possibility of us ever going after him. Surely the former. Would he not be in the mould of an Isco-type player that, if he rocked up on the doorstep begging to play, we would sign? Clearly I still haven’t given up ALL hope.
Aguero transcended my team’s abysmal performance and defeats with his pure and unadulterated brilliance. The one player in any opposition that I could watch for days on end. Perhaps it helped that we were never direct rivals in the traditional sense, yet I can’t help but envy Manchester City and how lucky they were and still are to have this brilliant footballer in their midst. I hope Pep Guardiola knows just how lucky he is to have him too.