Dubai: Sergio Aguero got one last chance to play himself in a fairy-tale farewell in Manchester City where Pep Guardiola gave him a rare start on Saturday afternoon.
The Premier League champions were elected against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park – and one man played him perfectly, just as he always did with the men in sky blue.
Aguero, City legend and the club’s all-time goal scorer, did not run out of clothes after his return to fitness and before his departure from the Union in the summer. As one of City’s true loyal men over the past decade, he has once again dressed his socks like a 21-year-old for a full 90 minutes during a pivotal, clinical and decisive 2-0 victory for City. He did not work miracles. He did not walk on the water. He didn’t pull a team across the line that was desperate to lead. He simply did what he always did – going into spaces and turning half opportunities into opportunities. He made that moment of magic to transform the game.
The result basically brought City back to the Premier League title again, but Aguero’s bid speaks for a lot. This wasn’t just Sergio the other 90 minutes.
He knew what that meant. He also knows what lies ahead.
Sadly, with the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain approaching, Aguero will not be allowed another place at the start with so much at stake. On Saturday, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan all watched from the bench. They will all be on the pitch against the French giants, while Aguero will have to warm up the field.
This match against Palace may have been his last rival with City (he could run out at the end of the season with a title win). But – just like anything else – he did so gracefully and confidently.
Sure, the first half was frustrating as Aguero tried to rise quickly and the defenders of the palace – aware of the danger it could be and out of respect – sealed it off. But he dug deep to find a fine piece of bluff to grab the opening match and send City on their way to three more points.
Just like a true wizard, Aguero ditches the shackles of injuries and time to turn a frustrated day into a victory.
The season was a penance for Aguero as his aging legs caused him to lose 20 years of hammers by desperate and jealous opponents. Scars, operations, and pain have left their marks on tired knees, legs and ankles.
Despite his injuries, Aguero wants to go ahead and play. Transfer rumors spread from day to day, whether it was Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Atletico or Paris Saint-Germain, but the truth is that Sergio is the “universe” of City – “their son.”
We already have a statue of Vincent Kompany. We have one David Silva at center stage in the federation. But Aguero may be the pinnacle of an amazing journey over the past decade or so for City. Even if he doesn’t get his chance against Paris Saint-Germain, Aguero will still have an imprint on every City club for decades to come.