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Silent assassin Sergio Aguero’s reign of terror will never be forgotten as Man City icon nears exit


THE leading foreign scorer in Premier League history — and the leading goalscorer in Manchester City’s rich  history too.

The scorer of the most famous goal of the Premier League era — and, in many ways, the greatest modern footballer we never really knew.

Sergio Aguero's reign of terror at Man City will come to an end this summer

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Sergio Aguero’s reign of terror at Man City will come to an end this summerCredit: AFP or licensors

For a decade now, Aguero has been City’s silent assassin — a man who has dodged the limelight as surely as he has evaded defences — and now his reign of terror is over.

The Argentinian’s likeness will be cast in bronze outside the Etihad and, perhaps, he will be depicted ripping off his shirt in ecstasy in celebration of the 94th-minute winner against QPR which won City their first title in 44 years.

Maybe they should accompany it with a voice recording of Martin Tyler’s famous ‘Agueroooooooo!’ goalgasm, playing for eternity.

Because although that goal came at the climax of Aguero’s first season in English football, and even though he will surely sign off his stay at City with a fifth title in a decade, that sun-kissed afternoon in May 2012 is what we will  remember him for.

City went into stoppage-time 2-1 down to a ten-man, relegation-threatened  Rangers, needing a victory to finish above Manchester  United, their crosstown- rivals, age-old nemeses, who had assured victory at Sunderland.

It seemed that City, for all their bottomless Abu Dhabi wealth, were still the same old City — a comedy club, always finding ways to stuff things up and snatch disaster from the jaws of victory.

Yet Edin Dzeko equalised in the 91st minute and then after Vincent Kompany strode forward, a prostrate Mario Balotelli hooked a pass to Aguero, who passed a grounded Nedum Onuoha to slot home and send the blue half of  Manchester into rapture.

And nobody laughed at City ever again.

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Aguero is the scorer of the Premier League's most famous goal

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Aguero is the scorer of the Premier League’s most famous goalCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Of course, this being City, they had benefited from one of their own, Joey Barton, suffering the mother of all meltdowns and receiving a red card for kicking Aguero in the back, among a series of other assaults.

And Onuoha, the most culpable QPR defender, was another City academy product. Yet that was all part of a perfectly-scripted City story.

Aguero, in a rare interview, later claimed that he had done little on that fateful afternoon except for ‘scratching my b***s and getting kicked in the back’ and even claimed he had fluked his winning goal.

Never mind, the balance of power in Manchester — and in English football — shifted decisively in that moment. On the back of his shirt Aguero wears the name ‘Kun’, his nickname, after an Argentinian cartoon character.

And this most extraordinary climax to a Premier League season was as chaotic as an episode of Tom & Jerry.

Aguero is the last surviving  member of City’s first Premier League-winning side — his fellow greats Kompany and David Silva have departed in the previous two summers and both will soon stand, statuesque, alongside him.

Aguero delivered City their first title and three more after that

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Aguero delivered City their first title and three more after thatCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Pep Guardiola will struggle to replace a player of Aguero's quality and standing

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Pep Guardiola will struggle to replace a player of Aguero’s quality and standingCredit: PA:Empics Sport

It is hoped fans will return for their final home game against  Everton to give Aguero the send-off that Silva was never afforded.

We suspected this moment had been coming, with the 32-year-old Aguero’s contract due to expire at the end of the season and with the Argentine having failed to score a Premier League goal from open play in over a year.

Boss Pep Guardiola, who arrived slap-bang in the middle of Aguero’s ten-year stay, has often thrived in the biggest matches with a false nine or two, rather than Aguero’s long-term understudy, Gabriel Jesus.

Indeed, Guardiola’s arrival had  initially seemed to threaten Aguero’s future at City.

Before the Catalan swept in, he had been an old-school out-and-out poacher of goals.

The former Barcelona boss, with his ‘total football’ heritage, demanded more than that of his centre-forward.

Aguero responded to the challenge and, to some extent, re-invented  himself, as a more complete player. Aguero has scored an extraordinary 257 goals in 384 games for City — including a Premier League record of 12 hat-tricks.

In the competition’s all-time scoring charts, Aguero stands fourth, behind only Toon legend Alan Shearer, England’s record goalscorer  Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole, having  surpassed Top Gunner Thierry Henry as the most prolific overseas scorer in the English game.

But perhaps he was even under- appreciated in some quarters — as he was incredibly never named Football Writers’ Player of the Year, or PFA Player of the year.

He is not just a great goalscorer, though, but also a scorer of great goals — winning the Premier League’s goal of the month prize on seven occasions. Aguero has won ten major trophies with City and may sign off with four more as Guardiola’s men chase an unprecedented quadruple.

City may replace him with Erling Haaland, or perhaps even Harry Kane.

But even those world-class strikers would struggle to score as many goals for City as Aguero has done.

And they will surely never score a goal as heart-stopping, as historic or as significant as the one Aguero stuck past Paddy Kenny on that May afternoon a decade ago.

As Tyler said, after he’d caught his breath: “I swear you’ll never see anything like this ever again.” 

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