x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Sergio Aguero is forward thinking

While he enjoys life in Manchester, the striker would, one day, like to retire with Independiente, the Argentina club where he started his career.

Sergio Aguero, centre, has scored 10 goals in 10 starts for Manchester City, but is second to Edin Dzeko, 13, in the club’s scoring chart.
Sergio Aguero, centre, has scored 10 goals in 10 starts for Manchester City, but is second to Edin Dzeko, 13, in the club’s scoring chart.

An Argentine striker, acquired expensively, remunerated handsomely and scoring prolifically, yearns for a return to South America. He dreams of playing for his boyhood idols once again.

It is the tale of Carlos Tevez's 2011. Yet Sergio Aguero shares his compatriot's hopes. Buenos Aires beckons.

Not that Manchester City need worry. Their smiling striker is looking long into the future.

Independiente's youngest ever player - Aguero was 15 years and 35 days old when he made his debut - aims to become one of their senior citizens. In the meantime, he is perfectly content at the Etihad Stadium.

"Of course I would like to go back to Independiente to retire, to round off my career," said the 23 year old. "I was there from the age of nine and I was a fan, so it means a lot to me."

While Boca Juniors occupy a place in the heart of his father-in-law, Diego Maradona, and Tevez, Independiente exert a similar hold on Aguero's affections.

But the welcome mat need not be unrolled just yet. Aguero is certainly not agitating for a move.

"I hope to have many years in Europe first and more than anything I want to stay at least for the five at City that I signed a contract for," Aguero said. "And then, looking to the future, yes, I would like to go back to Independiente to retire."

The short term entails competing with Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko for the forward berths in Roberto Mancini's team.

Aguero was only a substitute for Tuesday's Champions League defeat to Napoli, Maradona's old club, but offers the manager an enticing option at Liverpool today.

It is a sign of City's prowess that a man with 10 goals in as many league starts is not even the leading marksman. With 11 in all competitions, Aguero is sandwiched by Balotelli (nine) and Dzeko (13).

Colleagues may be rivals in the scoring stakes, but the Argentine believes an environment with greater competition can be beneficial.

"I did not expect to start as well as I did, but sometimes football is like that," the former Atletico Madrid player said.

"We are growing as a team all the time and that vindicates my decision to come here, because I wanted to come to a team which would help me grow. We have a really good team."

It is a side that remains a work in progress but has begun the domestic season brilliantly.

The Champions League has proved more problematic, despite Aguero's dramatic injury-time winner against Villarreal, but the forward is targeting every piece of silverware available.

"It is a team that is in a very interesting position to fight for trophies," said. "That has to be our ambition, to fight for the Champions League or the Premier League or the cup."

He said City were good going forward, with players who are able to retain the ball, while at the back they had international defenders and two very strong full-backs.

With a Carling Cup quarter-final against Arsenal barely 48 hours after today's game against Liverpool, competing on so many fronts is no simple task.

Rotation has become entrenched at the Etihad Stadium and Aguero is one Argentine who does not complain about either being put on, or being asked to come off, the bench.

He has an admirable sense of humility, perhaps aided by the knowledge that, despite his considerable talent, goal scoring knack and £38 million (Dh215.5m) price tag, there are greater talents among both his family and friends.

"Lionel Messi is the best player in the world and we are lucky that he is Argentinian," said Aguero, who is close to the Barcelona player. Messi has been granted the captaincy of their country by Alex Sabella, the new coach, a decision that Aguero has endorsed.

"He is happy with the armband and it is for his teammates to help him," he said. "I am delighted to have him as my captain, because what more could you ask than having the best in the world. And I am delighted for him, because he wanted the armband so much."

While City last won the English league in 1968, Argentina are enduring a lengthy wait for major trophy themselves. For Aguero, the aim for club and country is the same: to end the drought.

"We have not won a title for so long and it is natural there is pressure on him [Messi] - and on everyone - but we are 11," he said.

Thus, for all his ability, speaks a natural team player.

sports@thenational.ae