Striking the right chord

Many had questioned whether City were capable of mounting a title challenge, and whether Aguero would be able to adapt to the pace of the English Premier League. But Aguero has been outstanding in his first season in England with an impressive tally of 29 goals in all competitions, writes Tom Coleman.

When Sergio Aguero took to the field for his boyhood club Independiente for the very first time he was just 15 and the youngest player to feature in Argentina's top flight since the legendary Diego Maradona.

Breaking a record set by such an iconic figure in the game is not something that goes unnoticed, and when he came off the bench to replace Emmanuel Rivas against San Lorenzo in the 69th minute, it was clear that he was a star in the making. Nicknamed ‘Kun', after his favourite childhood cartoon, Aguero first signed for Independiente aged just nine years old.

Life was far from easy, though. Aguero grew up in a slum just outside Buenos Aires and his father was a taxi driver earning very little money. “I had a very bad time. All the friends I had, I don't think any of them are at home. They're all in prison,” he said. “If I hadn't got out of there, I don't know what would have happened to me. The ball rescued me.” His record-breaking debut six years later therefore marked a rise out of the slums and the beginning of the road to stardom.

“Honestly, I think my debut at such a young age came as a big surprise to both myself and Oscar Ruggeri, the former coach of Independiente. But I just went to the training sessions and made sure I listened to both the veteran players and the coaches for guidance,” he said.

“Ruggeri took such a big risk on me at such a young age. He had a great deal of confidence in me when I was just a little boy.”

Aguero was soon heralded as the new icon of Argentinian football, and did little to repel those expectations during his time at Independiente, scoring 23 goals in 54 appearances for the club. Such an impressive goal -scoring record did not go unnoticed, and the striker was strongly linked with several top European clubs and his name was also been touted as a contender for a place in Argentina's squad for the 2006 World Cup.

It seemed that a move was inevitable, and before the end of the 2005/06 season Aguero took to Argentinean television to reveal his intention to leave Independiente. He continued to be linked with many clubs around Europe, but he eventually signed for Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2006 for a fee reported to be in the region of Euro23 million.

And he soon set about demonstrating just why such a fuss had been made about him, recording an impressive tally of 19 goals in his second season in La Liga, with only Luis Fabiano and Daniel Guiza scoring more.

Goals against the likes of Sevilla, Barcelona, Valencia, Villarreal, and local rivals Real Madrid, helped Atletico qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in over 10 years. In the 2008/2009 season the Argentina star formed a devastating partnership with former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan. Between them the pair netted an incredible 49 goals, with Aguero scoring 17 and creating many more. His best spell for the Spanish side though, was arguably during the 2010/11 season, when he chalked up 20 goals in a season for the first time in his career.

At the end of that season Aguero announced on his website that he wanted to leave the club and he soon joined big-spending Manchester City for GBP38 million, becoming their most expensive signing of all time.

His career at the Etihad Stadium got off to the best possible start as he scored just nine minutes after coming off the bench in a 4-0 win over Swansea.

Many had questioned whether City were capable of mounting a title challenge, and whether Aguero would be able to adapt to the pace of the English Premier League. But Aguero has been outstanding in his first season in England and his impressive tally of 29 goals in all competitions as well as his outstanding all-round displays ensured he was shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. City's title hopes are now alive once again and Aguero is sure to have a key role to play as Roberto Mancini's side look to dethrone their neighbours and arch-rivals.

Aguero has come a long way since his humbling upbringing and although he has some way to go before emulating his famous father-in-law Maradona, he could still go down as one of Argentina's greatest exports.

Aguero was widely criticised for scoring with his hand for Atletico Madrid against Recreativo in 2006.

Aguero is married to Giannina, the youngest daughter of the legendary Maradona. They have one son called Benjamin. His favourite car is reportedly an Aston Martin.

FACTFILE Name: Sergio Aguero Position: Striker Club: Manchester City DOB: 02/06/1988 International caps: 33 International goals: 14

Moment remember: Helping Atletico Madrid win the 2010 Europa League Final against Fulham

Moment to forget: Crashing out of the 2010 World Cup with Argentina after a 4-0 defeat to Germany in the quarterfinal.

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