Aguero planning Independiente return after Argentina recall

The Manchester City striker is back in the international fold for Argentina and he is also plotting a club level return to his homeland.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero   -  Getty Images

Sergio Aguero has confirmed he still plans to return to boyhood club Independiente before retiring as he prepares to make his Argentina comeback at the Copa America.

Aguero has not been selected by his country since their underwhelming performance at last year's World Cup, despite scoring twice as Jorge Sampaoli's side exited in the last 16.

Sampaoli was subsequently replaced by Lionel Scaloni, who recalled Manchester City striker Aguero in his Copa America squad instead of Inter's Mauro Icardi.

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Aguero has regularly spoken of a desire to return to his homeland before hanging up his boots and he reiterated his plan at a news conference on Thursday.

"I always try [to get back to Argentina]," he told reporters, having left Independiente as a teenager in 2006 to join Atletico Madrid."

"I know what the fans [of Independiente] want, but I have a contract with City and I try to focus on these two years I've got left."

"Then I'll see what I'll do but of course, the Rojo [Independiente] is my priority."

Despite being an unused substitute as City thrashed Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final to complete a historic domestic treble, Aguero had one of his most prolific seasons to date.

The 30-year-old hit 21 Premier League goals, becoming only the second player in the history of the competition to score at least 20 times in five consecutive campaigns.

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Staying fit was crucial to Aguero's consistency and the striker is revelling in being pain-free as he prepares to make his mark at international level once more.

"In all the competitions, this was the year I have been at my best condition physically," he explained, having undergone minor knee surgery before the start of a campaign where he scored 32 times across all competitions. 

"I didn't have that many injuries... I only lost a week and a half in the whole year."

"For me it was fundamental to end the year the way I did and now I'll try to keep in the same shape with the national team."

"When you're not called up you imagine the worst, but I tried to do things right at my club, not thinking about it. Thank God, for my form and for the way I ended the season, I'm here today."

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Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero in Argentina training   -  Getty Images

 

Aguero's presence could lighten the workload on his great friend and Argentina captain Lionel Messi, who did not play international football for nine months after Russia 2018.

"Well, of course, nobody likes losing," Aguero said of the Barcelona superstar. "Of course, he has suffered in his last competitions, the Champions League and the Copa del Rey." 

"He's not okay but he's grown up, he has experience. He knows football is like this, you have moments of joy but sometimes there's sadness."

"He knows best, he arrived here well and we all know how much Leo desires to be here and the happiness he radiates. He's fundamental."

"We know very well he loves the national team and I think you [the media] should realise by now."

Argentina hosts Nicaragua in a friendly next Sunday before facing Colombia in their Copa America opener on June 15.