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Here's to you Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo; So long and thanks for all the nightmares

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Sergio Aguero has retired from football


Here's to you Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo; So long and thanks for all the nightmares

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Siddhant Lazar


Words hurt. It may be a cliche but the written words especially - or at least more than the rest - hurt and have the capability to hurt humans like no other.

But there are moments when the spoken word can absolutely destroy you, especially when it comes out of the mouth of someone you care, admire or even love. For many, Sergio Aguero was just that and hearing him breakdown during a live press conference where he was announcing his retirement because of a heart condition is even worse. But for an Arsenal fan, someone who has spent the better part of the last decade hating the man with every ounce of energy, well, it feels about the same.

But nah, f**k that because this man did nothing but give me nightmares.

Somehow, this tiny tiny Argentine who could do obscene things as a teenager turned out to be a 125 plus-year-old Premier League club’s biggest problem. Somehow, a nothingness man from Atletico Madrid turned himself into a club legend for a club that technically has more relegations than titles. A man, a mere mortal with near-perfect hair and a smile on his face managed to give a meagre Arsenal fan more gray hairs, more nightmares and cause more hell than anyone else.

Why? It’s simple.

In the 26 games, across all competitions, since Sergio Aguero signed for Manchester City, the Cityzens won 15 of them. Aguero played in 19 of the games and scored 11 goals along the way and why does that matter? Because for Arsenal fans, there was absolutely nothing more terrifying than a 5’6” forward who did nothing but score goals. 11 goals in 19 games is a ludicrous total with only three players scoring more than that against the Gunners. Wayne Rooney, Robbie Fowler, and Didier Drogba.

Both Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the modern versions but Aguero was worse than them all. Because both Rooney and Drogba were a weird case because no matter what form they were in or what the occasion was, somehow the two would manage to find the net. Drogba especially terrified Arsenal fans in the late 2000s and early 2010s with 13 goals in 15 appearances as if he had something to prove to the world.

Rooney scored far more (two more) but he had a lot more time and all this while Arsenal fans watched as elite forwards would terrorize them, create nightmares that would destroy any hopes they had and their own forwards struggled. Or left for a brighter future. The closest they came to replicating that post-Thierry Henry was Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie but both men left the second they got the chance.  Then there was Manchester City, spending oodles to form a core that was just downright sensational.

But it was never complete until “Sergio Sergio” arrived onto the scene and then boom!! It’s why they hated Aguero so much. Here was a nothing striker, skinny and without a care in the world as he made the game of football look absolutely easy.  Sure, he scored more against Chelsea and Newcastle with a demonic fervour but every time he played against Arsenal it felt like hell.  So why on earth should I or any Arsenal fan give a flying anything about Aguero and his crocodile tears?

Because that's exactly what football does.

For a game that has remarkably low scorelines and causes chaos on most weekends, the emotional aspects of it all are very predictable. The romantic aspect is always there and while you can always be romantic about baseball, there's nothing but romance in football. It's the game that makes you feel like there's something far bigger than just yourself in the world and at the same time makes you feel like the furthest thing from alone.

Sergio Aguero retires as a football legend © Twitter

It's why when someone does the things that Aguero does, at the absurd consistency and all the while doing it under several managers in a league that is not friendly to South Americans, you can’t help but adore and even respect. And thus no matter how flawed he or she is, boundaries dissipate, the barbed wire just disappears and you've got nothing but love in your heart. Love and just a sense of awe for the player especially when he can do things like Aguero did.

Sure, he scored goals and a wide variety of them from absolute bangers to elegant brush strokes from cheeky chips to last-minute-mind-bending season-defining winners but he did it with a sense of style and endearing nonchalance. There was a panache and a sense of swagger to everything he did, kinda like if Jay Jay Okocha and Ronaldo had a baby who could be perennially injured and still turn up to haunt you despite spending six weeks on a physio’s table.

As if injuries and blips meant nothing with goals flying in from every possible angle and yet the modern game has this hatred for men and women who do nothing but score goals. In a game that is quite literally won or lost on a goal, how one can hate the player putting it in the back of the net is incredible. It’s why players like Filippo Inzaghi, Andriy Shevchenko, Ruud van Nistlerooy, Robert Lewandowski and even Sergio Aguero may eventually go down as underrated.

Not to the ones who watched them play and actually saw the art, effort and ability it takes to be in the right place at the right time but to everyone else. And you can't really blame them because Lionel Messi, Neymar and the other one showcased the way a player could be. No longer was doing one thing enough, the men and women working off their backsides to perfect that one thing, now had to do three things just as well. 

Thus evolved the modern footballer as the game slowly but steadily changed but Aguero was never that. He did end up proving to Pep Guardiola that he could be the pressing forward he wanted even if it did come with a never perfect relationship with the Spaniard. But beyond that, Aguero never shifted from his true ethos, who he was deep down, which was just a man who loved scoring goals.

Even after the injuries destroyed the hamstrings and calves and ankles he never changed that. What he did was find the net with consistency that's so absurd, no one in the world, aka England, can match up to it. Robert Lewandowski and good ol Ronaldo might surpass that but Aguero is right up there and he did it with style that hasn't been seen since a certain Brazilian with a rather elite hairstyle.

Of course, that man took it to another level but at his best, Aguero had you scared out of your mind, falling in love with him and breaking your heart in one move. Just ask QPR or Chelsea or Manchester United or the gazillion other sides he played against over the years. Hell, even Real Madrid, after he scored against them in an El Classico, had nothing but respect and adulation for the Argentine.

It's why the world loved the fact that he signed for Barcelona. A club he never played for, until this year, but one that felt like he had always been there. Maybe that's the Pep effect or maybe I'm delusional but either way, it matters not. Because in the end, Sergio’s crocodile tears got to all of us. You, me, Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Chelsea, nearly every player and fans across this lovely planet.

And if that isn’t how you measure a footballer’s career, then what truly is?

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