Tag Archives: Sergio Aguero

Golden Boy award winners – Ranked

It was announced earlier this week that Barcelona youngster Pedri was the winner of the 19th edition of the coveted ‘Golden Boy’ award.

The award is handed to the best Under-21 player in Europe’s top leagues based on a vote by sports journalists, based on the performances during the calendar year.

Looking through the list of previous winners, there have been some hits and misses as to how their careers ended up. But who is the best? Who is the worst? I’ve ranked them all, starting with the worst.



Alexandre Pato

The Brazilian was one of the most exciting prospects to come out of Brazil when he joined AC Milan but after an impressive couple of years, injuries took their toll and Pato never made the impact he was meant to. It might strike you to realise he is only 32 these days, but plays in the MLS with Orlando.

Anderson

If you look at Anderson’s CV, there’s an argument that he shouldn’t be this low down. But when you consider that injuries absolutely battered him throughout his career and most of those accolades came due to being part of an amazing squad, he has to be near the bottom.

All Golden Boy winners from 2003 and where they are now, including,  Balotelli, Renato Sanches and Haaland – The Sun

Mario Balotelli

The Italian broke onto the scene with Inter Milan, but a career that has been clouded in controversy didn’t go without it’s moments. The ‘Why Always Me?’, the fireworks, the fights with the manager are balanced out with the assist for *that* Aguero goal and his Euro 2012 performances get him off the bottom.

Anthony Martial

The Manchester United man is only 25-years-old as of this writing, but he’s really failed to kick on since winning this award in 2015. He’s lost that X-factor he had when he first moved to Old Trafford and while he’s got time to turn it around still, at his current trajectory he’d be considered a disappointment.

Rafael Van der Vaart

The inaugral winner of the award was a star for Ajax before earning himself a move to Real Madrid via Hamburg. But under the brightest of lights he struggled to really make an impact and the rest of his career was spent as being the best player in relatively mediocre sides.

CM: Sanches on the move; Jorge Mendes' plan with AC Milan

Renato Sanches

The star of a young Benfica side who helped Portugal to their first ever international trophy at Euro 2016, Sanches looked destined for greatness. A poor move to Bayern Munich and injuries have stalled his development and while he finally looks to be getting back to a high level, it’s too early to have him above some of these guys in the list.

Mario Gotze

There may not be a more iconic career moment from anyone on this list than Gotze scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final during extra-time in 2014. Since then though it’s been downhill, with injuries and a loss of form seeing him become a shadow of his former self. He’s only 29 now, but he plays for PSV in the Eredivisie.

Pedri

2021’s winner gets into this list at this height simply because it’s far too early to put him any higher or lower. His career has been strictly high points thus far, becoming a key member of the Barcelona team and putting in amazing performances during Euro 2020 to help Spain to the semi-finals. If he continues at this level, he will be one of the best in the world without a doubt.

Matthijs De Ligt

The only defender to win the award, De Ligt is still considered one of the best young defenders in the world. After helping Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals as their teenage captain, he earned a move to Juventus where he’s failed to rip up any trees but has maintained a steady level of performances. There’s definitely more to come from the Dutchman.

João Félix has already received the Golden Boy Award! - SL Benfica

Joao Felix

Felix blew up with his performances for Benfica in the Europa League and earned a nine-figure move to Atletico Madrid. Since moving though, injuries and a style of play that doesn’t really suit him have seen him stagnate. We’ve seen some top level performances in that time though, so we know the talent is still there.

Isco

The Spanish playmaker was a superstar in the making and was a key member of the Spain and Real Madrid side for years, with his brilliant guile and technical ability on show regularly. He’s won it all but the last few years have seen him barely touch the pitch and that will affect his legacy somewhat. A top player though, without doubt.

Erling Haaland

2020’s winner is currently regarded as one of the best strikers in the world despite being just the tender age of 21. His phenomenal goalscoring record has got everyone’s attention and the ease with which he’s taken to top level football is a sight to behold. He has got a long and successful career ahead of him, without a doubt.

Two Liverpool players make shortlist for Golden Boy award - with one former  Reds youngster nominated - Liverpool Echo

Raheem Sterling

The Manchester City and England winger won the award during his time at Anfield as a Liverpool player and hasn’t looked back since. He is the City player with the most goals under Pep Guardiola, has won everything at club level except the Champions League and even helped England to their best tournament finish since 1966 at Euro 2020. A superstar.

Paul Pogba

Despite his time in England since returning to Manchester United splitting opinions on him, Pogba’s talent is and always has been undeniable. He broke into a title winning Juventus team, is a leader at international level and scored in a World Cup final. His United stint may be up for debate, but his career is not.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas has had success everywhere he has been until he moved to Monaco, but the levels he reached during his prime have him down as one of the best midfielders of his generation. He won everything there is to win at club level and international level, while being a key player in every success and will be remembered greatly despite the winding down of his career at a relatively young age.

Pin on My Boy

Sergio Aguero

The man with the most iconic moment in Premier League history, Aguero’s legacy as a world class footballer is undeniable. He is the player with the most hat-tricks in Premier League history, the most goals in Man City history, the most goals by a foreign player in Premier League history and he’s top three goalscorers in Argentinian national team history. Unfortunately forced to retire early due to heart problems, but he will go down as a great.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is only 22-years-old at the time of writing this, but his legacy is already solidified. He won the league with Monaco as a teenager against a dominant PSG side, then switched to Paris to become a cornerstone of their recent success. He’s won golden boots, trophies and even became the youngest player since Pele to score in a World Cup final. The scary thing is, he’s only getting better too.

Wayne Rooney

It’s crazy to think that some people believe Wayne Rooney never fulfilled his potential despite ending his career as the all-time top goalscorer for Manchester United and England. He won it all at club level, playing several positions and is the owner of several iconic moments. A world class footballer and one of the best his country has ever produced, he was a true golden boy.

GOAL on Twitter: "Lionel Messi winning the European Golden Boy trophy back  in 2005 🏆 https://t.co/Iumxd5UBpi" / Twitter

Lionel Messi

There was no other option for the number one ranking of this award, because the greatest player of all-time won it back in 2005. The only ‘Golden Boy’ to go on to win the Ballon d’Or, he has gone on to do everything except win a World Cup and his legacy will transcend generations. Without a doubt the greatest I’ve ever seen, it’s a no brainer that he sits at number one on this list.

Sergio Aguero forced to retire with heart problems

Sergio Aguero has been forced to retire aged 33 after being diagnosed with heart problems.

The Argentina striker joined Barcelona in the summer on a free transfer after 10 years with Manchester City in the Premier League, where he became the club’s all-time top goalscorer.

After joining the Camp Nou side to play with Lionel Messi, he was left angered when Messi was forced to leave the club after financial problems meant his contract could not be renewed.



Aguero suffered a calf injury which delayed his debut for the club until October, before scoring his first goal for the club as a substitute in El Clasico during the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

He completed his first 90 minutes for the club in a defeat to Rayo Vallecano, but in his next appearance ‘Kun’ would only last 42 minutes before going down unchallenged with breathing problems.

He has since been diagnosed with a cardiac arythmia and although Barcelona announced that he would unavailable for a period of three months while his health was monitored, it’s now believed he will retire.

According to leading Barcelona journalist Gerard Romero, the club will host a press conference this week to officially confirm the player’s retirement from professional football at the age of 33.

Aguero scored an amazing 260 goals for Man City in 390 appearances for the club during a ten-year stint where he won five Premier League titles, six Carabao Cups and an FA Cup.

The shock retirement will come as a blow to new Barcelona boss Xavi, who earmarked Aguero’s experience and quality as something to build on when taking over from Ronald Koeman.

It means Memphis Depay will be tasked with being the club’s chief goalscorer this season along with youngster Ansu Fati, while Luuk de Jong, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembele and Phillipe Coutinho will also need to chip in when they play.

Who should Manchester City sign to replace Sergio Aguero?

When the greatest goalscorer in the history of the club is getting ready to leave, some planning needs to go into his replacement.

After Manchester City and Sergio Aguero confirmed reports that the player will leave at the end of his contract this summer, all talk swiftly turned to who would be the best replacement for Pep Guardiola’s side to sign.

Aguero is almost guaranteed to go abroad, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain the most linked teams for his signature, but whether they’re the best option remains to be seen. For City, the options on who to sign are much less frequent and will be much more expensive. So who is the best option?

The obvious two names that come to everyone’s lips are Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Haaland is a 20-year-old Norwegian international who already has an affiliation with the blue half of Manchester, with his father Alf-Inge being the former captain of the club. Erling was born in Leeds but brought up as a Man City fan due to his father’s playing career and there is a well known photograph of a young Haaland in a City shirt.

Borussia Dortmund v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga : News Photo

His profile fits the striker role well too, with goals galore coming in all forms. Whether it be left foot, right foot, header, tap in, scrappy or emphatic, Haaland has the finish in his locker and at only 20 he is impressionable enough for Guardiola to be able to mould any weaknesses or flaws he may have.

He has seemingly got a ‘win at all costs’ mentality too which will go down well, while physically he seems to be strong and mobile enough to cope with the Premier League. One issue in pursuing Haaland would undoubtedly be his price, with Dortmund likely to ask for in excess of £150m to part with the player this summer. City will think twice, especially with the knowledge that he has a release clause that activates next summer for less than half that amount.

That could lead them to the current Spurs hitman Kane, who reportedly could seek to leave north London if they fail to make the Champions League next season.

Rumours of Kane’s future have been rife for years but he has stayed loyal to Tottenham, even signing a new six-year deal with the club in 2018 meaning he will still have three years to run on the deal at the end of the campaign.

The fee to bring him to another Premier League club will likely be as high as any potential fee for Haaland, but it may seem a little more worth it.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM : News Photo

The England striker will be 28 by the time the new season begins and entering his prime. He is chasing several goal records, including being the most credible threat to Alan Shearer‘s all-time Premier League record and also Wayne Rooney’s England record.

But this season he has developed an entirely new side to his game, where the creative bones have come out as well as his clinical striker abilities. He currently leads the Premier League charts for assists and has shown a passing range that most midfielders would cry for.

This all round game would likely suit Guardiola’s possession-heavy approach more than just a pure poacher, but he is still more than capable of getting 20+ league goals a season and 30+ goals in all competitions.

The issue for Kane has always been fitness, with ankle and hamstring injuries plaguing him throughout his career and often causing him to miss large chunks of the campaign. While that isn’t too different from what Aguero has had to deal with during his City career, the huge price tag could put City off for that reason.

Who else is there? It now seems highly unlikely that Lionel Messi will be targeted in the summer, while Kylian Mbappe is more likely to stay put at PSG or move to Real Madrid than join Manchester City.

Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander : News Photo

Romelu Lukaku has been linked as a target and despite his goalscoring exploits in Italy it would be incredibly hard to picture him in a Guardiola team. As good as he is, stylistically they are like chalk and cheese and there is no reason for Lukaku to look to move away from Serie A considering how well he is doing and the fact he is about to win the league with Antonio Conte.

Antoine Griezmann could become available if Barcelona opt to offload him and his style could see him fit in very well at Manchester City. He is more of a technical playmaker by trade who prefers to play in a slightly withdrawn role, but is more than capable of being the most advanced attacker. City could also look at his former club Atletico Madrid for a potential move for Joao Felix who is reportedly unhappy under Diego Simeone.

The Portuguese wonderkid may actually be the best fit possible for Guardiola. He is capable of playing across the front line, dropping deep to link play, has a fantastic eye for goal, can dribble, beat players one on one and also has a great eye for a pass. He is young and coachable and while he would certainly be expensive, he’d probably cost less than Kane or Haaland.

City will have to go big in the transfer market regardless of who they opt to sign to replace Aguero, unless they choose not to replace his status and just replace his place in the squad. After all, they are about to win the league with their number nine Gabriel Jesus having only scored seven league goals.

Sergio Aguero to leave Manchester City – where next?

It’s official. The end of an era is upon us, as both Manchester City and Sergio Aguero have confirmed that the player will leave the club upon the expiry of his contract this summer.

The 33-year-old Argentine striker joined the club back in 2011 from Atletico Madrid in a deal worth around £35million and has gone on to become the club’s highest goalscorer of all-time.

He broke the record during Man City’s 4-2 win over Napoli back in 2017, breaking a 78-year record by scoring his 178th goal for the club. He has since gone on to score 257 goals in 384 games for the club at the time of writing.

The club have confirmed that while Aguero will be allowed to leave on a free transfer this summer, a statue has been commissioned to go up outside the Etihad Stadium alongside those of his former teammates Vincent Kompany and David Silva. They will also put up a permanent mosaic at the club’s academy in honour of his glorious career with the club.

But with a few years still to go in his career, what is next for the Argentine hitman? Lets take a look at the prospects for his future.


FC BARCELONA

When you’ve already got a legendary number ten amongst your playing squad, you don’t need another. But when the one currently there is reportedly unhappy and considering leaving, bringing one in who is one of his best friends would definitely be helpful.

FBL-ARG-TRAINING : News Photo

Aguero and Lionel Messi are international teammates and best friends in football but their playing styles also compliment each other’s play styles well. Since Luis Suarez left Barcelona last summer, the club have lacked that outright number nine to sit in the box and finish chances. Despite that, they’re the favourites to lift the La Liga title at the end of the season so signing Aguero would only bolster their squad for next year.

With the futures of Antoine Griezmann and Phillipe Coutinho up in the air, they will need attacking help going forward. Aguero would provide experience, goals and an extra reason to convince Messi to stay – plus we know how much they love to pay attacking players.

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Another deal that potentially hinges on the future of Messi, could be PSG. With the French giants always looking to add to their ranks, new manager Mauricio Pochettino will look to make additions to the squad that suit him.

While he never worked with Aguero directly, his time in the Premier League meant he got an up close and personal look at the Argentine and will know the best way to get the most out of him. Moise Kean is likely to return to Everton following his loan spell and Mauro Icardi has suffered with injuries this season after signing permanently last summer so a new striker could potentially be needed.

Putting Aguero in between Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could be the remedy to earn the club a European trophy but also adds another superstar to the ranks of the club. That’s never a bad thing.

INTER MILAN

When a superstar level player becomes available, certain clubs are always linked and Inter Milan are one of those clubs.

On the verge of lifting the Serie A title for the first time since Jose Mourinho’s reign as manager, Milan will be expecting the mighty Juventus to try to come back with a bang next year and must look to bolster their options to maintain the high level under Antonio Conte.

While Romelu Lukaku is the main man and top scorer, a bit of assistance from another top level goalscorer will never be a bad thing and with Alexis Sanchez never able to re-find the form that made him one of the best, Aguero could take his place in the squad and become the perfect foil for big Rom.

There are other options like returning to Argentina or venturing off to the MLS, but really and truly Aguero is still too good to enter that final chapter of his career.

If he can get over his injury issues of the last 12 months or so, he will be a huge asset to any club he joins but the most likely option at this point seems to point to the Camp Nou. It will undoubtedly be a coup to get a player of this calibre on a free transfer, his age, wages and injury record could prove a gamble.

Will Gabriel Jesus ever be good enough to lead the line for Manchester City?

With Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City career on pause right now, all eyes have been on Gabriel Jesus in a blue shirt.

The Brazilian forward has been tasked with leading the line in Aguero’s absence, with the club’s all-time top goalscorer leaving big shoes to fill while he’s been out with injury. The Argentine hasn’t scored a league goal for the club since January 2020 and has made just five appearances so far this season for a number of reasons.

Jesus has struggled to take his chance though, with manager Pep Guardiola often leaving him out entirely and opting for a makeshift system with no natural striker.

He started in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Swansea, scoring his 76th goal in 174 games for the club in a 3-1 win to see them through to the quarter-finals once again.

While his record on paper looks relatively good for someone who’s been a back-up player for the majority of his tenure at the club, but when you break it down some more you start to realise that it’s probably not as good as it seems.

16 of those goals have come in domestic cup competitions, while 15 have come in the Champions League. Even of those 15 in the Champions League, only four have come outside of the group stages and none beyond the last 16.

He seems to be a bit of a flat-track bully when it comes to goalscoring, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. He’s got excellent movement, a great first touch, good hold up play, fantastic link play with his midfielders and is a good finisher when he gets into those positions.

But he doesn’t have that nose for goal that the elite strikers do. During his time at Palmeiras and even now for the Brazilian national team, Jesus gets fielded out wide with the license to drift in-field and link up with the other attacking players.

His long-term future at City shouldn’t be at risk because he’s more than good enough to be a part of the squad and perform well in certain games, but he can’t be relied upon to be the main source of goals for the team.

With the way Guardiola sets his teams up, they are sure to score goals throughout the campaign. But having that one man you can rely on in a tight game is key for all the top sides in the history of the game.

Jesus isn’t that guy and probably never will be, so don’t be shocked to see City go big on a striker this summer with Aguero almost certainly finished at the highest level in a sky blue shirt.

Champions League Group Stage Predictions – Manchester City

After an inconsistent start to the season so far, Manchester City look to excel beyond previous seasons to finally win a Champions League tournament.

Pep Guardiola is in his fifth season at the club now, his longest spell at any club during his career and yet it comes off a relatively poor campaign. City finished a massive 18 points behind league winners Liverpool, while crashing out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage against Lyon where they were expected to be real contenders to win the whole tournament.

They enter this years tournament with similar expectations and with a relatively easy group once again they will be expected to qualify to the next round comfortably.

Ederson is the guaranteed starter in goal, with his distribution key to the approach that Guardiola insists his side take part in. In defence, Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte seem to be automatic choices to start when fit while the club brought in Ruben Dias from Benfica for a club record £65 million. João Cancelo is also a fantastic option in defence, but Guardiola tends to opt for naturally left-footed players in the left-back position which lends itself to either Nathan Ake or Benjamin Mendy taking that role.

My Best XI: Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Dias, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Foden; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling.

In midfield, Rodri and Fernandinho battle it out for the holding midfield position. As the deepest midfielder, they are tasked with starting attacks but also with ensuring the side don’t get counter-attacked against when they lose the ball. Alongside them will almost always be Kevin De Bruyne, partnered by one of Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan or Phil Foden. The creativity, passing range and dribbling ability of all of them mean that City always have an outlet from deeper positions to break lines against a low block while also all possessing somewhat of a goal threat.

In attack, when everyone is fit the team picks itself. Sergio Aguero will almost always lead the line over Gabriel Jesus, while Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will occupy the wide positions as Ferran Torres, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden offer cover.

With a group containing Portuguese champions FC Porto, Marseille and Olympiacos, Manchester City are the firm favourites to progress.

I spoke with Manchester City fan Mak, a member of podcast ‘Blame It On The VAR’ on his thoughts of his sides group stage and what he predicts will happen.

Episode 16 – Martial law Blame it On The Var Podcast

Talking last weekend's results, midweek CL games and the form of Anthony Martial.
  1. Episode 16 – Martial law
  2. Episode 15 – The special one
  3. Episode 14 – Draft day
  4. BOTV Quiz Episode 1 – Denzel vs Lyes
  5. Episode 13 – The Theatre Of Nightmares

I think City will comfortably win their group and they should get it wrapped up with a game or two to spare. I’m glad the draw is somewhat different playing the likes of Porto and Olympiacos instead of the usual draw against Shakhtar. I expect City to comfortably win this group and amass 16 points in the process.

Having seen Manchester City’s performances this season, it’s easy to disagree with Mak on this occasion but when you look at the teams they’re coming up against, he’s likely not far off being correct.

Despite the issues they’ve shown defensively, especially against Leicester in the 5-2 defeat, going forward they have still scored goals this season and the teams in their group just aren’t strong enough defensively to be able to cope. They may concede some goals in the process, but they have more than enough firepower going forward to blow these teams out of the water and take the points needed to claim qualification early.


Mak is a Manchester City fan who is a regular member of the ‘Blame It On The VAR’ podcast, which is available every week.

You can follow Blame It On The VAR on Twitter:
@BOTVPod

You can follow Mak on Twitter:
@JudasFan1

Manchester United 07/08 vs Manchester City 17/18

Since the turn of the century, the English Premier League has largely been dominated by the two giants in the north – and we’re not talking about Liverpool.

Manchester, red or blue, have been responsible for 11 title wins since the beginning of the 2000/01 season – more than any other city in the country. Both clubs have dominant dominant eras, with Sir Alex Ferguson leading the charge between 2006-2009, winning three Premier League titles in a row and adding in a Champions League triumph for Manchester United. The Citizens’ dominant era was much more recently though, when Pep Guardiola led his side to back-to-back Premier League titles – smashing the 100pts barrier in the process.

Both sides are deemed as one of the greatest the Premier League has ever seen. Fans and pundits are constantly arguing about which side was better and who would win in a one-off match. So we broke it down.

The Red Devils were such a versatile outfit that it’s hard to pin down how they’d line-up for a game like this, unlike when we broke down Arsenal’s Invincibles vs Liverpool’s 19/20 Champions. I expect they’d go with their trusted 4-3-3 formation that brought them so much joy in big games. United’s defence was very solid throughout the campaign, which showed as they started over 30 games together that season. In midfield the English trio of Owen Hargreaves, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes brought control, energy, bite and creativity as they were able to adapt their aim in the game depending on the opponent. Up front, arguably the best trio in Premier League history as Cristiano Ronaldo was partnered by the two world class work-horses Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.

How I expect both sides would line-up if this fixture ever happened.

This set-up allowed the front three to roam about at their own free will in attack but assured they were always covered if they lost the ball. Ronaldo would often find himself in the centre forward role despite starting on the left, while traditional central players Rooney and Tevez would use their tremendous conditioning to cover him out wide. It got the best out of Ronaldo, with the Portuguese equalling the record of 31 league goals in a 38 game season, which would stand until Mo Salah broke the record for Liverpool in 2017/18.

Man City’s team was a similar shape, but much more focused on possession play and just completely overwhelming their opponents. Full-backs Kyle Walker and Fabian Delph would tuck into “inverted” roles to allow the wingers to stay high and wide, while giving space to the two midfield playmakers Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in advanced positions. Fernandinho would often slot in between the two centre-backs and City would form a block in the opposition’s final third in an attempt to prevent counter attacks. Any time a counter would break through, they would usually take a ‘tactical foul’ approach to bring it to an immediate halt and start the process all over again.

While Man City would almost certainly hog the ball in this fixture, it’s nothing Fergie’s side wouldn’t be used to. En route to their Champions League triumph, they took on the mighty Barcelona. Frank Rijkaard’s side employed a similar style and had similar levels of talent in their squad at the time with the likes of Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta all regulars. Just a year before Pep’s Barcelona beat United with a very similar core side in the following Champions League final, the Old Trafford side kept back-to-back clean sheets in the two-legged semi-final clash beating them 1-0 on aggregate thanks to a Paul Scholes wonder strike.

This shows they’re more than capable of defending against the best, while still maintaining a threat on the counter attack. Ronaldo, Rooney and co. ripped Arsenal apart on the counter the following season, famously thrashing them in their own Emirates back yard.

Man City are no pushovers though. En route to their unprecedented century, they beat Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea home and away. They also beat Liverpool 5-0 at home and Man Utd at Old Trafford. They smashed the record for most goals scored in a season, with 106 in 38 games and conceded just 29 times. The front three of Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane banded together for a combined 49 goals and 32 assists in the league, while Kevin De Bruyne led the assists charts with 16 of his.

It would be the ultimate tactical clash and while Guardiola has gotten the better of Sir Alex Ferguson on every occasion they’ve met as managers, this would be a different encounter. This United side was so versatile and capable of controlling a game or soaking up pressure and countering. While Man City were phenomenal going forward, defensively they were always a little bit exposed. With three top forwards and a genuinely fantastic midfield, United would have the perfect remedy to City’s possession game and I expect they’d take the win based on that.