It’s hard to think of a more gifted footballer in modern times than Sergio Agüero, yet in some people’s eyes he remains a criminally underrated player in terms not only of his individual brilliance, but also the transformative effect he has had on Manchester City.
When you look at the raw numbers, it is hard to argue that few players have made such an ongoing and lasting impact on the Premier League as Agüero. His list of records is astonishing, as is his longevity, with the Argentine having recently signed a contract extension which, when it comes to an end in 2021, will mean he will have spent 10 years at the Etihad.
And he shows no signs of slowing down either, with most of the major betting sites, such as those listed on playright.co.uk, making Agüero the favourite to be the Premier League’s top scorer this season at odds of around 11/4 (you can also get 16/1 on his scoring the most goals in the Champions’ League as well). He has already scored 6 goals in 9 appearances this season (plus 2 assists) and on current form, some observers consider the 30-year-old to be the best striker in the world.
However, despite all that he has achieved, there is a very strong sense that Agüero’s talents have never fully been appreciated in England, and that he is not feted, either by the press or the wider football public, in the way that other perhaps lesser players are. For instance, Agüero has only once appeared in the Premier League Team of the Year, in 2017-18, He has never been named PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year or FWA Footballer of the Year (although he was voted the Football Supporters’ Federation Player of the Year in 2014).
And yet a detailed analysis of his statistics and record means that you could make a case for his in fact being the greatest Premier League player of all time.
Since joining City from Atlético Madrid in 2011, Agüero has been the club’s top goalscorer every year (joint winner with Carlos Tevez in 2012-13) and City has finished no lower than fourth, winning three titles in the process. But these are just the headlines stats — drill a little deeper and it becomes even more apparent how enormous his contribution has been to City’s era of dominance. He has done far, far more the club than just THAT goal against QPR…
For instance, Agüero became the club’s record goal scorer when he scored his 177th goal for City in October 2017, in the process breaking Eric Brook’s record that had stood since 1939. He won the Premier League Golden Boot in 2014-15, with 26 goals in 33 appearances (a 0.79 goals to games ratio), and was City’s Player of the Year in 2011-12 and 2014-15.
At the start of the current Premier League campaign, Agüero had the best ever goals-per-minute ratio in Premier League history (107.3 minutes per goal), while his overall goals to game ratio of 0.69 (as at September 2018) is the best amongst the top 10 players on the all-time Premier League goalscoring list. He currently sits in tenth place on this list and there is little doubt that he will move up a considerable number of places before his Manchester City career comes to an end.
On top of this, Agüero has scored 9 Premier League hat-ticks (including hauls of 4 against Tottenham and Leicester, and a 5-goal bag against Newcastle United), and is the second highest overseas goalscorer in the league’s history (behind only Thierry Henry).
In European competitions, Agüero’s current goal tally of 21 in places him behind only Didier Drogba as the player with the most goals for an English club, and he has been directly involved in more Champions’ League goals than any other City player, at 33.
When you look at these numbers, it is hard to understand why Sergio Agüero does not always receive the rapturous accolades that some other strikers do. Perhaps it’s because he has consistently prolific throughout his time at Manchester City, and so has never really had a break out season where he burst onto the scene unexpectedly. It may also be that, in comparison with other global sporting superstars, his life has been relatively controversy-free, and he maintains a fairly low public profile. It could also be down to the fact that on the international stage, he has always lived in the shadow of Lionel Messi (with whom he is close friends) and so his 39 goals for Argentina (in 89 matches) have not received the attention they deserve.
Whatever the reason, perhaps now is the time for a reappraisal of Agüero, and for the media and football public in England more fully to appreciate what a true genius of the game they have had the pleasure of watching for the last seven years.
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