"Balotelli...Agueroooo!! Staggering, just staggering! He's won the league with 90 seconds of stoppage time to play! United's game was over, they had it, they've had it stolen back! It's just the most extraordinary scenario you could have dreamt of!"
The memory of that incredible moment in Manchester City's history will always be spoken about in connection to Martin Tyler. He spoke from his heart as he watched the drama unfold, and countless City fans would have had that exact reaction when the ball crossed the goal line. In ten years on English shores, that moment is likely to be the most enduring memory of Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine had already made a name for himself with Atletico Madrid in La Liga, but the best was yet to come. Manchester City would bring riches and stardom like nothing else. City themselves had not had the best track record in terms of transfers back then, with Robinho a famous failure. But Aguero was none of those things. He came in and made an immediate impact. Combining with the likes of Samir Nasri, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko, David Silva and Yaya Toure, he helped City to the title. By the time he departs the Etihad, he looks certain to bow out with 5 Premier League titles, at least 5 League Cups and an FA Cup, and maybe even a Champions League to top it off.
Undoubtedly, he leaves as a Manchester City legend, and indeed, a Premier League legend. After all, only Andy Cole, Wayne Rooney, and Alan Shearer have scored Premier League goals than him! Add in 46 assists, and he has over 220 goal contributions across his City career!
The right time to leave
For all his contributions, Manchester City have learned to play without him. After five straight seasons of 20 or more goals, he has suffered from injuries in the last two. Gabriel Jesus was supposed to be the heir apparent, but he hasn't really lived up to that. With Aguero out and Jesus unconvincing, Guardiola has adapted City to play without a recognised striker. Instead, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva have become part of a fantastic attacking quartet. Gabriel Jesus is also a part of this, but he functions as more of an attacking midfielder off the left, rather than as a traditional centre-forward.
Manchester City have evolved into a smooth attacking outlet that has blown away opposition teams. At this juncture, it seems like the time is right for Aguero to leave. He isn't getting any younger, and injuries are affecting him much more than before. With post-Aguero City working perfectly, his departure isn't going to hamstring the team. Of course, he isn't finished yet. There's a lot he can still offer, and wherever he goes next, he will contribute heavily.
End of an era
Slowly, some of the biggest stars of the past decade are leaving the Premier League. The curtains are well and truly coming down on a Premier League era. Aguero is leaving in the summer, Mesut Ozil left in January, David Silva departed last year, and Eden Hazard departed the year before. Alexis Sanchez's time in England also petered with a meek spell at Old Trafford.
These players brought their class to the league and entertained the fans on a regular basis. With all of them gone, we're left with a new generation of entertainers.
We can count ourselves lucky to have witnessed such an amazing bunch of footballing stars showcase their skills on the pitch at the same time.
They were some of the most decorated Premier League players, and none more than Aguero himself. For now, all we can hope for is to enjoy what little time the Argentine has left in a Manchester City shirt.
Man for the big occasion
As much as it pains me to talk about it, Aguero's hat-trick against Chelsea in the 2018/19 demolition was the perfect example of his big-game mentality. In 75 games against members of the traditional 'big six' of the Premier League, he scored 54 goals and provided 13 assists. Chelsea were his favourite opponents. He was directly involved in 18 goals against them, while Tottenham has conceded 16 goals to Manchester City in which Aguero has had a hand. 11 goals against Arsenal, 9 against city rivals Manchester United, 7 against Liverpool. He also has 6 goal contributions against Leicester, who have aspirations to break into the top 6. Like the Chelsea hat-trick, his four-goal performance against Leicester back in 2017/18 was another evidence of his big game performances.
City have often flattered to deceive on the European stage. Far too often, they have had meek exits after looking like title contenders. Tottenham Hotspur and Lyon have knocked them out at the quarters in the last two seasons, with Borussia Dortmund standing in their way this time around. But Sergio Aguero has always been among the goals. He has 36 goals in 62 appearances for City in the Champions League, which is quite a good record. He never hid, always putting his best into the game.
The rumour mill has begun to churn, predicting the 32-year old's next destination. He might have scored quite a lot against Chelsea, but the Blues have allegedly thrown their hat into the ring. With Olivier Giroud showing his class even at 34 and Thiago Silva having a mostly solid season at 37, Chelsea might be amenable to bring another experiencec campaigner into the fold. Tammy Abraham has struggled, while Timo Werner has looked lost quite often. Aguero might help both of them click, particularly Werner. Plus, the prospect of Aguero and Giroud playing together, although unlikely, is quite the intriguing thought.
While it seems like a move that could happen, Chelsea still looks like an unlikely destination. He has spent 10 years in this league, and he will probably want to look for a new challenge. The likes of Barcelona and Juventus look like good options. With uncertainty around Messi, Aguero would provide some stability and an experienced forward to either combine with his compatriot or try and lead the line without him. Juventus are quite well-known to look for a bargain free transfer, and Aguero is a bumper package in that regard. Once again, there's the prospect of him combining with Cristiano Ronaldo in his twilight years. In case the Juventus moves comes to fruition, he'll join an exclusive group of players to have played with both Messi and Cristiano! A return to former club Atletico Madrid, while not particularly talked about or rumoured, also seems like a possibility.
Goodbye, then, to a Premier League and Manchester City legend. He created moments that are forever etched in the minds of football fans.
He's also been involved in some of the league's best title races; none more than the nail-biting close to 2011/12.
An entire generation of strikers have been inspired by him and his style of play. He may yet choose to stay in the Premier League, and we'll all follow him wherever he goes.
But like Hazard leaving Chelsea, you can't always reconcile easily with a club legend's departure.
Every Manchester City fan will hope to be able to see him in action when he turns up for City's final home game of the season.