TUESDAY’S BIG STORY (...there’s only one)
It’s a question every journalist has grappled with: how many ‘o’s can you put on the end of Aguero and still be considered professional?
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We won't have many more opportunities while he's a Manchester City player, with one of the greatest chapters in Premier League history heading for a conclusion. Sergio Aguero will leave Manchester City in the summer after a decade at the club. The ending may be a little limp, but everyone remembers where they were on the day it truly began: Sunday May 13, 2012. And the Warm-Up is no different.
We were huddled in a living room (as illegal as that now sounds), wedged between two Manchester United fans on a sofa barely big enough for one. In fact, nearly everyone was draped in red and willing those in blue on the box to fail. The joy was unbearable as Jamie Mackie stooped to head home for Man City 1-2 QPR, the goading relentless as the cameras panned to City fans jolting around in pain.
But then the extraordinary happened. Beer cans were suddenly untended as Edin Dzeko made it 2-2, then, in the final seconds of a nine-month season, the sharpest intake of breath. Mario Balotelli wriggled the ball through, Aguero was onto it in a flash. Bam. As most of the country exploded with excitement, this living room hummed with silence before being stirred by a few soft expletives – the characters too wrapped in despair to notice the Warm-Up cartwheeling across the floor. It was, and always will be, the Premier League moment.
We’ve since thought that QPR folded too easily, that Joey Barton shouldn’t have slyly punched Carlos Tevez and kicked Aguero, that Paddy Kenny could have stood one metre to his left, precisely where Aguero kicked it. We also know that by toasting this triumph, we are endorsing the Man City project – one that turned them from has-been to superpower when a rich man thought ‘I’ll give some money to this random club’. But despite all of that, it's hard to deny it wasn’t still unreal.
Every young footballer has imagined winning a trophy with the final kick – it’s where daydreams often start and finish – but Aguero has gone on to achieve far more at the Etihad. Three more Premier League titles followed, along with an FA Cup and five League Cups. Indeed, we will probably have added one to each of those totals by the summer... and maybe even a Champions League too, if Pep Guardiola is banned from making unnecessary tweaks.
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“When a cycle comes to an end, many sensations arise. A huge sense of satisfaction and pride remains in me for having played with Manchester City for a whole ten seasons – unusual for a professional player in this day and age,” Aguero said on social media.
Ten seasons with major achievements, throughout which I was able to become the top historic goalscorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love the club – people who will always be in my heart.
"I was to join during the reconstruction era of 2011, and with the guidance of the owners and the contributions of many players, we earned a place among the greatest of the world. The task to maintain this well-deserved privileged position will remain on others.
"As for myself, I will continue to give it my utmost for the rest of the season to win more titles and bring more joy to the fans. Then, a new stage with new challenges will begin, and I am fully ready to face them with the same passion and professionalism that I have always dedicated to continue competing at the highest level."
Some will say Aguero has been overhyped, that he doesn’t belong among greats like Thierry Henry and Wayne Rooney. He was often injured, or coming back from injury, or nursing an injury, but on those occasions his body was working at maximum he was the most unstoppable force England has seen this past decade. Whether City go for Erling Haaland or Harry Kane to replace him this summer, these are not shoes that can be immediately filled.
Whatever your opinion, you will never forget him. Not only will he be immortalised as a statue outside the Etihad, but we will all play our part – screaming his surname into the void whenever his greatest hit is mentioned. So jump aboard the bandwagon again, watch the clip above and scream with us...
Aguerooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (to answer the earlier question, 157 ‘o’s is probably too many).
IN THE CHANNELS
Just in case you’re still not convinced:
Oh, and we'll never forget this poetry:
We’ve seen Titanic dubbed onto football’s most iconic moments so it’s time to recall when someone did the opposite. We think it's an absolute masterpiece:
On Twitter, it is far easier to be banned for copyright breach or general swearing than it is for racially abusing someone. It’s easier to be banned for posting a clip of Wilfried Zaha scoring a goal than it is for racially abusing him.
Moving away from Aguero now, and Jude Wanga has delivered a timely reminder that football is still failing in the fight against racism and it's an important read.
Luxembourg go on the hunt for their next victim as Portugal touch down at fortress Stade Josy Barthel (19:45). Live comments on this very website, of course.
Marcus Foley keeps claiming he could get a game for Luxembourg, so it’s going to be awkward when he’s here tomorrow talking about their 1-0 win over Portugal.
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