Life & Style | People

Sergio Agüero's rise to the top of the Premier League

Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero ensured a stunning and dramatic end to the English Premier League last season. Yet the Argentinian goal machine reckons that his club has barely begun in their quest for glory.

  • By Victor Vago, alpha magazine
  • Published: 14:54 January 29, 2013
  • alpha

  • Image Credit: Supplied picture
  • “Work with Mourinho? Sometimes football gives us surprises that not even we are properly prepared for.”
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He played a vital role last season in wrenching the Premier League title away from neighbours and bitter rivals Manchester United. Sergio Agüero’s incredible last-gasp goal against Queens Park Rangers in the final game of the season – which resulted in him being bundled to the floor by his exultant teammates – saw the Sky Blues crowned league champions for the first time since 1968. A former Fifa Young Player of the Year, he started his career with Argentinian outfit Independiente before being lured to Spain by Atlético Madrid, where he netted 74 goals in 175 appearances. City’s costliest signing at £38 million (Dh224 million), Aguero, 24, has proved his worth, becoming a firm favourite with fans and an indispensable member of Mancini’s dream team.
 
What has been the highlight of your time at Manchester City been, so far?

Winning the Premier League was one of the best moments in my career. When I left Atlético Madrid, I told myself that I wanted to continue growing in football, and to have achieved something so important in my first season in the Premier League, one of the most competitive leagues in the world, gives enormous impetus to my career. Apart from that, when I remember the way it was all decided, in the final seconds of the very last game, with such an emotional ending, it makes the achievement even more special.
 
What do you value most about City as a club?
From the first day I arrived here, I realised that City have a very serious project. In every respect. Here, a professional footballer has everything he needs to develop the personal qualities he has. That’s something we should always value.
 
Isn’t the club purely about money?
The subject of money is relative. All the important clubs in the world make big signings to improve their respective teams. I think that putting the weight of money only on City is a way of trying to destabilise them. City have a great team, with winning players who by nature are hungry for glory. In our case, the pressure is healthy, because we want to win. Not because of the money.
 
Can City cement their power in England and compete with Manchester United every year?
I believe our contest with Man United has already started. We won the title off them and now we’re in the fight again. City have everything to continue to grow and the best is yet to come. I say this because I feel the ambition of my teammates in the dressing room, in training and in the matches. We can experience better and worse moments, better or worse games. But we have a solid base, which allows us to think we can fulfil our dreams. I hope that the title we won was just the first step. With a lot of seriousness and humility, we’ll achieve more great conquests.
 
What is City manager Roberto Mancini like?

Mancini is a very hard-working coach who has won important trophies with Manchester City, and that should be valued by everyone. I have a good relationship with him, too. He talks to me a lot in training, tells me what kind of movements I should make according to the difficulties that opposing defenders show and
asks me to give my maximum in every game.
 
Why have City been unsuccessful so far in the Champions League?
We all want to be in a much better position in the Champions League, without a doubt. It’s also true that just like last season, we were in a very difficult group. But we always draw conclusions from our performances. I’m sure that, regardless of what has happened, the experience we’ve acquired in these first years will be vital for our future.
 
Would you like to work under José Mourinho?
He’s a winning coach who has left an important mark on all the clubs where he’s worked. That’s why he deserves the greatest respect from all professionals linked to football. Work with him? Sometimes football gives us surprises that not even we are properly prepared for.
 
Can Man City become equals with Real Madrid and Barcelona, as Yaya Touré has suggested?
I think we’ve made the first steps on this path. I hope the Premier League title is just the beginning of a winning cycle for City. We all want it to be that way. But we are also aware that this is a process that requires a lot of time – that’s why, as the saying goes, “the path is made by walking”.
 
What are your long-term plans? Do you intend to stay at City?
At the moment, my aims are to continue developing with City and to reach the highest level possible. That’s also because I never set personal levels. If the team are doing well, that’s a sign that I’m also doing well.
 
Your successor at Atlético, Colombian Radamel Falcao, has been a big success there, scoring lots of goals. What do you think of his success?

Falcao is a great player with enormous ability and class. I’m very happy that he adapted so well to Atlético, because that means that the club is also benefiting from his greatness. Falcao is a matador and it’s just as well that he’s playing for Atlétic0, because it’s the team that opened the doors to Europe for me when I was very young.
I want to see the club have every possible success.
 
Falcao played for Porto before joining Atlético. Man City were beaten by Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League last season. So how do you evaluate the strength of Portuguese football?
It’s no secret that the development of Portuguese football in recent years has been exceptional. Their clubs have given consistent proof of their value in European competitions and their biggest clubs have great players in their squads, both from
Portugal and abroad. That also makes the Portuguese national team stronger, more experienced and more competitive. There are a lot of good Argentinian players
there that I know. I’ve played with Garay and Rojo. We won the Under-20 World Cup in Holland in 2005. Enzo Pérez and Nicolás Otamendi were with us at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I’m also friends with Toto Salvio, as we played together at Atlético.
You’ve played with Lionel Messi for the Argentinian national team. What do you think of him? He’s the best. The number one. Apart from that, he’s a great person who I’m lucky to have as a friend. Playing with him is a privilege that life has given me. We’ve known each other since 2005 and he always surprises me.
 
Ronaldo or Messi – who’s the best in the world?
Without a doubt, it’s Leo Messi.  With Messi in good form, can Argentina become world champions again? We’re on the right track to the 2014 World Cup and we’ll be there. But after that it doesn’t depend only on Messi, but on all of us who all have to be at our best to be able to help him in the best way.
  
Would Argentina becoming world champions in Brazil be the greatest happiness that can be given to the Argentinians?
The rivalry with Brazil is enormous. It’s a classic with lots of history, but the important thing is to be ready and at our best.

alpha
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