Why doesn't the Premier League love Sergio Aguero?
Background photo: RProfile, CC BY 2.0
Universal love is a hard thing to come by as a football player. Regardless of your talent, the numbers you rack up and your attitude, there will always be those who question if you’re among the best. Sergio Aguero is the perfect point in proof.
After another star display to help Manchester City rout Chelsea last week, the Argentine has been a hot topic of discussion. As has been the case for several years, the football public cannot decide quite where Aguero ranks in the league’s long list of legendary players.
In the numbers alone he deserves to be considered among the best. He’s Manchester City’s all-time record goalscorer, itself an incredible feat given he only joined eight years ago. His tally of 160 Premier League goals puts him eighth in the league’s top scorers list.
That’s more than legends such as Michael Owen, Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham. Two more goals this season will see him move level with God himself, Robbie Fowler.
In fact, his average of 20 goals a season means he only needs two more at that rate to break into the top three top goalscorers list. That would put him ahead of the likes of Thierry Henry, Frank Lampard and Andy Cole. Only eight would separate him from Wayne Rooney’s total of 208.
His ratio of a goal every 107 minutes is the best in the top ten goalscorers list, with Thierry Henry’s total of a goal every 121 minutes the closest anyone is to him. Aguero has even managed to become the second player in the league’s history to reach double figures for hattricks. Alan Shearer set that with 11 and Aguero equalled it with 200 games to spare.
Then there’s his record against the top six. Since coming into the league, Aguero has managed 42 against the Premier League's elite. Nobody even comes close to matching that total. Factor in that just under a quarter of his league goals have been game-winning goals, earning City 129 points, and you have an impressive stat sheet. It’s one that points to an extraordinary player.
Yet, in England, Aguero is not universally adored. People are impressed by his goalscoring but adoration is scarce beyond Manchester’s borders. When it comes to compiling a top ten lists of the greatest players in the history of the Premier League, Aguero is not a regular feature. He’s also often overlooked when it comes to ranking the foreign players to have graced the league. But why is that the case?
Perhaps much of it has to do with Aguero’s style. The Argentine is not flash or full of skills. Instead, he is precise and clinical. They are things that are hard to love if you’re not a Manchester City fan.
A masterful finisher is always rated lower when compared to others. Aguero is not the first, nor will he be the last, to suffer from that. The art of finishing isn’t as highly regarded as it should be. The Premier League’s record goalscorer, Alan Shearer, can attest to that.
Personality is also likely to play a part. In a footballing world where players like to be front and centre, Aguero is the opposite. His new white hair cut aside, Aguero is quiet, reserved and in no way flashy.
His limited English also means he spends little time in front of the cameras or drawing attention to himself off the pitch. To football fans outside of Manchester, he is somewhat distant. He does not have the air of mercurialness that set some above others in the hearts of fans.
There’s also the fact he plays for City. During his time at the club, world-class players have always surrounded Aguero. Not only does that make some think he should be racking up the numbers he has, any good striker would, it also means he is not the brightest star in the galaxy. There has always been someone to outshine him, a bigger personality to take the limelight.
Respect may be something that Aguero does not receive until he leaves Manchester City. Absence makes the heart grow fonder after all. In the meantime, he’ll continue putting the ball in the back of the net. Shearer won’t be worried about his record but the six players ahead of him in the rankings will be.
Aguero is a machine that will continue producing, particularly while Pep Guardiola is in power at the Etihad. By the time he does depart, he will have staked an even stronger claim to the tile of the Premier League’s best ever foreign import. The medals and records he’ll have picked up by that point should make up for the baffling absence of adoration.