Barca agree £55m deal to sign Man City’s Torres

???????Barcelona have agreed a deal that could total £55m with Manchester City to sign Ferran Torres.

The Spanish side will pay an initial £46.7m (€55m) plus a further £8.5m (€10m) in add-ons. Some £5.9m (€7m) of those add-ons are said to be more or less guaranteed.

It means City will have made at least £27m (€32m) on a player they paid Valencia around £20m (€23m) for in 2020.

They have not paid any of the agreed add-ons to Valencia due to the limited time he has spent at the Etihad.

Barcelona regard Torres as one of Spain’s rising talents and have money to spend in January after recently receiving sizeable investment via a bank loan.

Their relationship with City is also strong; City officials including Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano used to work for Barca president Joan Laporta during his previous reign at the club.

Ferran Torres goal celeb Manchester vs Arsenal Premier League
Image:
Torres, 21, has played only four times in the Premier League this season

Barca have also shown interest in signing Raheem Sterling but City want to keep him and he has recently returned to some of his best form in a City shirt.

Torres, 21, has played only four times in the Premier League this season, scoring twice, and once more in the Champions League.

He has been sidelined since October with a foot injury suffered on international duty with Spain.

‘Barca have good agreement with City’

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero provides the latest on Barcelona’s pursuit of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres after a deal was agreed

Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero says Barcelona are able to finance the deal, and stay the right side of Financial Fair Play, by virtue of agreeing a flexible payment structure with Manchester City.

“First of all, there is a bank credit [loan] for Barcelona signed with Goldman Sachs, and, in the last few weeks, they have leaked to the press they have got some savings. That means a little bit of cash, but not enough to pay that amount of money,” Montero told Sky Sports News.

“They have a good agreement with Manchester City, that means good payment conditions. Barcelona will pay for this transfer not in one or two years, but maybe in three, in four, in five years.

“To fulfil this move, Barcelona believe one or two players may leave.”

Follow Manchester City with Sky Sports

Follow every Man City game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Man City latest? Bookmark our Man City news page, check out Man City’s fixtures and Man City’s latest results, watch Man City goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Man City games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Man City as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.

Euro: Nico stunner gives Barcelona late win over Elche

A stunning late goal from 19-year-old substitute Nico gave Barcelona three precious points as they beat Elche 3-2 at the Nou Camp in La Liga on Saturday.

After two league games without a win and a humiliating 3-0 loss to Bayern that knocked them out of the Champions League in the group stage for the first time in almost two decades, Barca’s coach Xavi Hernandez was desperate for a win to take some of the pressure off his player’s shoulders.

Xavi’s bet on his younger players appeared to pay off as Spanish youngsters Ferran Junglat and Gavi both scored early on to give Barca a 2-0 lead.

But in the second half, Elche scored twice in two minutes through Tete Morente and Pere Milla.

Nico’s superb strike in the 85th minute saved the day, however, helping Barca climb one spot in the standings to seventh, two points off the European qualifying places but still 15 points behind league leaders Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, a Lucas Ocampos strike in the final minutes of the match gave second-placed Sevilla a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid.

In a feisty match between two sides that are trying to stay in contention with league leaders Real Madrid, Sevilla came out on top.

Atletico Madrid
Image:
Felipe equalised for Atletico Madrid

They now have 37 points, putting them five behind Real, while Atleti fall to fifth place on 29 points, leapfrogged by surprise team Rayo Vallecano, who beat Alaves 2-0 earlier in the day and remain unbeaten at home this season.

Ivan Rakitic gave Sevilla the lead early in the first half with a fabulous long-range strike that could be a contender for goal of the season.

Felipe equalised from a corner, timing his jump perfectly and thumping his header past Sevilla goalkeeper Bono.

But right before stoppage time, Ocampos reacted quickly to smash in a shot after a Thomas Delaney header came off the crossbar.

Serie A: Abraham helps Roma beat Atalanta

Tammy Abraham was on target for Roma
Image:
Tammy Abraham was on target for Roma

Tammy Abraham scored two goals as Roma put on a counter-attacking clinic to stun Atalanta with a 4-1 win and climb to fifth place in Serie A.

Jose Mourinho’s side finished the game with 29 per cent possession and eight shots to Atalanta’s 17, but they were far more efficient with their chances.

England striker Abraham scored inside the opening minute with a deflected strike, and Nicolo Zaniolo doubled Roma’s lead by finishing off a quick counter-attack for his first league goal of the season.

Gian Piero Gasperini was quick to make a change, bringing on Luis Muriel after 34 minutes, and the Colombia international’s strike cannoned off Roma’s Bryan Cristante for an own goal that got the hosts back into the match on the brink of half-time.

Atalanta pushed for a leveller and thought they had it when Jose Luis Palomino nodded in from close range at a corner, but he was offside.

Mourinho’s team scored a third four minutes later when Chris Smalling volleyed home his second goal in two games, marking the first time in Serie A history that two different English players have scored in the same game.

Abraham swept in his second of the afternoon with eight minutes remaining to take his tally for the season to six goals in Serie A.

Goals from Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado either side of half-time gave Juventus a 2-0 win at Bologna in thick fog to lift the Turin club to sixth place in Serie A.

Morata fired home a first-time finish after six minutes to put the visitors in front, but they were second best for much of the match as Bologna dictated the tempo.

Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side could not make their possession count, however, and Colombia defender Cuadrado punished them when his deflected strike flew into the top corner midway through the second half.

Bundesliga: Dortmund end 2021 with defeat

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Bundesliga match between Hertha Berlin and Borussia Dortmund

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund slumped to a year-ending 3-2 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Saturday to go into the winter break nine points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Hertha’s Marco Richter struck twice in the second half as Hertha came from a goal down to score three times against a makeshift Dortmund defence.

The visitors, looking to close the gap with Bayern following their 4-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg on Friday, enjoyed a strong start even though in-form Jude Bellingham was missing due to suspension, and central defender Mats Hummels and ‘keeper Gregor Kobel because of illness.

They could have scored with a string of good chances before Julian Brandt cleverly dinked the ball over keeper Alexander Schwolow to put the visitors in front in the 31st minute.

The hosts, however, equalised six minutes after half-time when Ishak Belfoldil slotted the ball under reserve ‘keeper Marwin Hitz.

Richter put Hertha 2-1 up in the 57th with an outstanding finish, placing the ball into the top far corner.

The 24-year-old forward then thundered home on the rebound in the 69th with the Dortmund defence in chaos after an error by Brandt on the edge of the box.

Substitute Steffen Tiggen rose high to drill in a header and cut the deficit seven minutes from time

Dortmund are second on 34 points, with Bayern top on 43. Bayer Leverkusen, third on 28, are in action on Saturday against Freiburg. Hertha’s win moved them away from the relegation zone and into 11th place on 21 points.

Erling Haaland shows his dejection in defeat
Image:
Erling Haaland shows his dejection in defeat

RB Leipzig’s hopes of a fresh start under a new coach are fading after losing at home to 10-man Arminia Bielefeld 2-0.

Japanese midfielder Masaya Okugawa scored the second goal in the 75th minute, not long after Fabian Klos was sent off for a bad challenge on Leipzig defender Willi Orban.

Janni Serra put Bielefeld in front from a rebound, and Leipzig were unable to make their undoubted attacking prowess count, with Andre Silva, Angelino, Christopher Nkunku and Benjamin Henrichs all missing chances.

It was the first loss in three games for new Leipzig coach Domenico Tedesco, who took over after the club dismissed Jesse Marsch. It leaves Leipzig in ninth, far from the Champions League qualification places.

Hoffenheim defender Kevin Akpoguma scored in injury time to deny Borussia Monchengladbach their first win after a run of four defeats, drawing 1-1. Breel Embolo had the visitors on their way to victory, but they failed to stop Akpoguma equalising in the 91st minute.

A brilliant early goal from Max Kruse was enough for Union Berlin to finish the year on a high after winning 1-0 at Bochum. Kruse got married on Thursday and fired home the winner in the 16th minute when he met Grischa Promel’s lay-off with a half volley inside the top left corner.

Eintracht Frankfurt earned a 1-0 victory over visiting Mainz to make it three Bundesliga wins in a row as they climbed to fifth place before the start of the winter break.

Jesper Lindstrom slotted home the winner in the 35th minute, with the Dane scoring for the third consecutive match.

Last-placed Greuther Furth held Augsburg to 0-0.

Europe: Real win Madrid derby | Barcelona held by Osasuna

Barcelona let three points slip from their grasp at Osasuna as a late stunner from Chimy Avila secured a 2-2 draw for the hosts in La Liga on Sunday.

Deprived of seven key players through injury, Barca coach Xavi Hernandez was forced to turn to his youngsters and 19-year-olds Nico Gonzalez and Abdessamad Ezzalzouli both scored as the visitors twice took the lead.

But Osasuna levelled first through defender David Garcia and then almost in stoppage time, through a low shot from Avila from outside the box that deflected in off Samuel Umtiti’s right foot.

Barcelona are eighth in the table, still outside the European qualification places and 15 points off leaders Real Madrid.

Xavi had told reporters on Saturday that he was worried after their 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich which saw them exit the Champions League at the group stage for the first time in almost two decades.

He said the club needed a reset, to create a new Barcelona.

Yet their performance on Sunday in Pamplona was more of the same, as his team continued to struggle to create opportunities and to keep their opponents at bay.

Barca opened the scoring in the 12th minute when 17-year-old Gavi found Nico with a precise long through-ball that broke Osasuna’s defensive line and left him all alone inside the area to score.

Osasuna responded immediately as Garcia connected with a perfect header that went in close to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s right post.

It then became a nervy encounter with few clear opportunities. Barcelona’s second goal arrived from a counter-attack, created when Osasuna’s players were complaining about a handball from Sergio Busquets.

Ousmane Dembele sprinted between the hosts’ disrupted defence and crossed for Ezzalzouli to volley home powerfully.

Osasuna never gave up, however, and found the equaliser with an Avila effort that left Barca stunned.

Marco Asensio celebrates after his goal in the Madrid derby
Image:
Marco Asensio celebrates after his goal in the Madrid derby

Real Madrid won 2-0 against a listless Atletico Madrid, a 10th straight win in all competitions that tightened their grip on top spot in La Liga.

Karim Benzema, who had been a doubt for the game with a leg injury and only played the first 45 minutes, made the most of his time on the pitch, hitting a beautiful volley from Vinicius Junior’s perfect cross to open the scoring in the first half.

It was the 17th goal of his career against Atletico and 13th of the season to lead the La Liga scoring chart.

Vinicius Junior did not score but was man of the match after earning another assist early in the second half, this time for Marco Asensio as Real extended to 11 their unbeaten streak against their local rivals in La Liga.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team are currently cruising at the top of the table, eight points clear of second-placed Sevilla and 13 above Atletico in fourth, albeit having played a game more than both.

Luis Suarez confronts David Alaba during the Madrid derby
Image:
Luis Suarez confronts David Alaba during the Madrid derby

Real Betis maintained their impressive form after routing Real Sociedad 4-0 to stay in third place, just one point behind local rivals Sevilla in second.

Left-back Alex Moreno scored twice and assisted Juanmi Jimenez for the striker to net his 10th league goal of the season and his sixth in the last four games. Nabil Fekir chipped in with another goal.

Also Sunday, Villarreal beat Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at home.

Serie A: Inter Milan top after rout

Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter Milan cruised to victory
Image:
Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter Milan cruised to victory

Inter Milan climbed to the top of Serie A in style as Lautaro Martinez’s double helped them thrash Cagliari 4-0 at the San Siro.

The champions dominated from start to finish to earn their fifth league win in a row, with Argentine striker Martinez getting the scoring up and running with a bullet header in the 29th minute.

Martinez could have doubled his side’s advantage before half-time, but saw a tame penalty saved. The hosts did not have to wait long for their second, however, as Alexis Sanchez – on a rare start – volleyed home five minutes after the break.

Cagliari were dead and buried from that moment on, and Hakan Calhanoglu soon added a third.

Martinez completed the scoring in the 68th minute with a delicate finish after bringing Nicolo Barella’s inch-perfect long pass under control, while a host of further chances came and went to make the win even more comprehensive.

With AC Milan and Napoli both dropping points this weekend, Inter took full advantage to hit the summit, one point ahead of city rivals Milan, while Cagliari dropped to 19th having taken 10 points from 17 matches.

Empoli celebrate after their victory against Napoli
Image:
Empoli celebrate after their victory against Napoli

A bizarre goal prevented Napoli from moving top of Serie A as they lost 1-0 at home to Empoli.

Empoli scored the only goal of the match in the 70th minute. A corner was floated in from the left, Napoli midfielder Andre Anguissa headed it onto the back of Patrick Cutrone’s head at the near post and the ricochet took the ball into the back of the net.

Napoli also hit the woodwork twice – once in the first half when Eljif Elmas’ 20-yard effort cannoned off the crossbar. The seocnd came after Empoli had taken the lead when a fierce strike from Andrea Petagna came off the base of the right post.

Juan Jesus did have the ball in the back of the net after a goalline scramble, but it was ruled out for offside.

Atalanta put their Champions League disappointment behind them as they fought back to win in Verona and set a new club record of six successive away victories.

Aleksej Miranchuk canceled out Giovanni Simeone’s opener in the first half and Teun Koopmeiners scored what was to prove the winner in the 62nd minute – thanks in part to a huge deflection off Verona defender Adrien Tameze.

Two Sassuolo goals in six second-half minutes from Domenico Berardi and Giacomo Raspadori saw the home side fight back to beat Lazio 2-1. Mattia Zaccagni had got Lazio off to a great start by scoring in the sixth minute.

Torino beat Bologna 2-1 to inch further away from the relegation zone.

Ligue 1: Mbappe double sees Monaco beaten

Kylian Mbappe scored twice during PSG's victory
Image:
Kylian Mbappe scored twice during PSG’s victory

Paris Saint-Germain continued their march towards the Ligue 1 title when a Kylian Mbappe double earned them a clinical 2-0 home victory against Monaco.

Mbappe found the back of the net with a penalty and a precise strike in the opening half to put the league leaders on 45 points from 18 games, 13 ahead of second-placed Marseille, who have a game in hand.

Senegal striker Bamba Dieng scored with a stunning acrobatic volley as Marseille won 2-0 at Strasbourg to move up to second place.

Jorge Sampaoli’s team put on a solid defensive display to resist Strasbourg’s press and then broke the deadlock near the hour mark when Dieng connected with a cross from Luis Henrique and unleashed his right-footed bicycle kick to send the ball into the back of the net.

Duje Caleta-Car sealed Marseille’s win in the 81st minute, heading home a corner kick from Dimitri Payet at the near post.

Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes kept his team afloat with a pair of decisive saves as Lyon secured a 0-0 draw at defending Ligue 1 champions Lille.

Nice continued its good form on the road to end a three-match winless run with a 2-1 victory at Rennes, with goals from Kasper Dolberg and Youcef Atal.

The hosts got one back through Benjamin Bourigeaud’s effort in the 59th minute and pushed hard for an equaliser, but Nice defended well until the end.

Metz secured an emphatic 4-1 win over fellow strugglers Lorient to leapfrog their opponents in the relegation zone.

The hosts got a brilliant start and led 3-0 after 18 minutes. Lorient defender Moritz Jenz injected some suspense into the game with a left-footed shot from close range reduced the lead, but Ibrahima Niane put the game to bed with a fine header from Farid Boulaya’s assist.

Angers were upset 1-0 at home by Clermont. Bordeaux also won 2-1 at Troyes.

Bundesliga: Frankfurt beat Leverkusen in thriller

Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Bayer Leverkusen
Image:
Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind to beat Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer Leverkusen threw away a two-goal lead to lose 5-2 at Eintracht Frankfurt and miss the chance to put pressure on Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Two early goals from Patrick Schick briefly seemed to have put Leverkusen in control, but Brazilian defender Tuta soon responded with a volleyed goal for Frankfurt before Jesper Lindstrom equalised on the counter-attack.

Evan Ndicka gave Frankfurt the lead for the first time in the 50th minute on the rebound, before Kristijan Jakic and Djibril Sow extended Frankfurt’s lead.

Promoted Greuther Furth finally achieved a historic win in the Bundesliga, but no fans were there to see it.

Norwegian striker Havard Nielsen’s goal was enough for Furth to beat Union Berlin 1-0 for their first win of the season, though Furth remain bottom. It was also the club’s first-ever home win in the top division after failing to win any of their home games in their only previous Bundesliga season in 2012-13.

Cheers from club staff echoed around the stadium after Nielsen’s deflected shot during a scramble in the box in the 56th minute. Furth’s home state of Bavaria ruled last week to bar fans from sports events after a rise in coronavirus cases. Union stays sixth.

Real, Barca and Bilbao start legal action over La Liga investment deal

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are taking legal action against La Liga over a €1.994bn (£1.7bn) private equity deal that league administrators agreed last week.

All but five of the 42 clubs in Spain’s top two divisions signed up to the investment package from CVC Capital Partners, the first of its kind in Europe.

Four clubs – the top-flight trio and Ibiza, according to reports – opted out, while one abstained.

The deal was “an illegal transaction that causes irreparable damage to the entire Spanish football sector and flagrantly violates the most elementary principles of Spanish sports law and the La Liga statutes,” Real Madrid, Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao said in a statement.

The agreement, dubbed ‘La Liga Boost’, buys CVC an 8.2 per cent stake in a new company that will get broadcasting revenues and sponsorship rights for 50 years.

Atletico Madrid vs RCD Mallorca
Image:
CVC has already invested in Formula 1, Moto GP and rugby

It commits clubs to allocating 70 per cent of funds for investments to new infrastructure and modernisation projects. Up to 15 per cent can be used to sign players, with the remaining 15 per cent for reducing debt.

La Liga said it has confirmed the legality of the deal.

“This decision by Real Madrid CF was a foreseeable reaction, given the club’s history of head-on opposition and appeal against any strategic initiative that represents an advance and a boost for the competition and its clubs,” it said in a statement.

La Liga had said the deal would be worth £2.3bn when it was first unveiled in August. The lower figure announced on Friday reflected the opt-outs and will be shared among the participating clubs and paid over a three-year period, La Liga said.

The objecting clubs will not take any share of the CVC investment, though they will continue to receive their allocated share of TV rights money, the league added.

“This is a new milestone in the history of La Liga and its clubs,” La Liga president Javier Tebas said.

Javier Tebas
Image:
Javier Tebas said it is a new milestone in the history of La Liga

“It allows us to continue our transformation towards a global digital entertainment company, improving the competition and enhancing the fan experience.”

Goldman Sachs will contribute with a portion of the funds that CVC will invest in the Spanish football league and recover over 50 years, sources from La Liga and the fund have said.

The CVC deal looked at risk of unravelling last week when Barcelona, Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao proposed an alternative proposal for JPMorgan, Bank of America and HSBC to jointly lend €2bn in exchange for a fixed annual payment of €115m (£97.9m) over 25 years, a document seen by Reuters showed.

Barcelona and Real Madrid were also among the driving forces behind a failed plan to launch a breakaway European Super League earlier this year, and vowed to continue to try to set it up.

CVC has tried to invest in a top European league on two previous occasions, after separate plans with Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga to buy media rights were scrapped earlier this year.

CVC is also lining up preliminary bids for a stake in the French football league’s media rights business, a source told Reuters this week.

CVC has also invested in Formula 1, Moto GP and rugby, and is behind a new commercial venture that is preparing to merge the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

‘Life comes first’ – Aguero retires due to heart condition

Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football at the age of 33 due to a heart condition.

The Manchester City record goalscorer, who moved to Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer, had to be substituted during his team’s 1-1 draw with Alaves in October after receiving medical assistance on the pitch to treat chest pains and dizziness.

The Argentina striker was taken to hospital for cardiac tests, after which he was ruled out for three months.

However, Aguero did not make his return to the field before announcing on Wednesday at the Nou Camp that his playing career has ended.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Aguero confirmed his retirement during an emotional press conference at the Nou Camp on Wednesday.

An emotional Aguero said: “This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football.

“It is a very difficult moment. The decision I have made I have taken for my health, that is the main reason, because of the problem that I had a month-and-a-half ago.

“I was in good hands of the medical staff who have done their best and have told me the best thing would be to stop playing.

“So I made that decision about a week ago and I want to tell everyone I did everything possible to have hope, but there wasn’t very much.”

Posting on Twitter, Aguero added: “Retiring under these circumstances is difficult, but life comes first – I’ve known that from the start.”

City manager Pep Guardiola was one of several representatives from Aguero’s former clubs to attend Wednesday’s press conference, while the club also paid tribute to their former striker on social media.

“Everyone at Manchester City would like to take this opportunity to thank @aguerosergiokun for his incredible contribution to our success over the last decade and wish him well in his retirement,” City posted on Twitter.

In November, Aguero responded to rumours about his retirement and tweeted that he was feeling “positive” and making “progress” with his health.

After his first game in charge of the club against Espanyol in November, Barcelona boss Xavi said the forward’s situation was uncertain, but that the club would “follow the evolution of what he had” and hoped he would be able to “keep playing football”.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

After the announcement that Sergio Aguero is retiring from football, we revisit some of the Manchester City legend’s most iconic goals and landmarks in the Premier League

Sergio Aguero will join Barcelona upon the expiration of his contract at Manchester City
Image:
Aguero joined Barcelona this year after spending 10 seasons with Manchester City

Aguero agreed to join Barcelona in May, signing a two-year deal with a buyout clause of €100m (£86m) after leaving City.

However, he was ineligible to play for the club until the end of August after financial fair play rules in Spain prevented the La Liga side from registering new signings.

The forward then suffered a calf injury which ruled him out until October, after which he was able to make his debut for the club as a substitute in a 3-1 win against Valencia.

He scored his first goal for Barcelona against Real Madrid on his El Clasico debut on 24 October.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Ilkay Gundogan says he gets goosebumps watching Aguero’s last-gasp winner against QPR in 2012 which secured the Premier League title

Aguero began his career at Argentinian club Independiente, scoring 23 goals between 2003-2006 before transferring to Atletico Madrid.

He enjoyed a fruitful period with the Spanish side, scoring 101 times in 234 appearances in all competitions and won the Europa League with the club in 2010 in addition to the UEFA Super Cup.

City signed Aguero from Atletico in 2011 and he became entrenched in the club’s history when he scored a dramatic late winner against QPR in the final game of the 2011/12 season to secure the team’s first Premier League title.

Aguero remained at City for 10 seasons, and broke Eric Brook’s record to become the club’s all-time top goalscorer in 2017.

He scored 260 goals for the club in 390 appearances and won a host of honours, including five Premier League titles, six League Cup trophies and an FA Cup, among others.

Sergio Aguero is thrown up in the air by his Man City teammates (AP)
Image:
Aguero is the record goalscorer at Manchester City (260), and former manager Pep Guardiola has described him as a ‘legend’

The forward was also prolific at international level, having scored 42 goals in 101 appearances for Argentina, making him the third-highest goalscorer for the side behind Lionel Messi and Gabriel Batistuta.

Aguero was part of the Argentina squad that won the 2021 Copa America.

Hasselbaink: I suggested Aguero to Chelsea before Man City!

Speaking at a Signathon Live event, former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink told Sky Sports:

“I hope that he gets the recognition he deserves. I absolutely love him, years and years ago when he was at Atletico Madrid, I told Chelsea they should buy him.

“He makes me think of Romario, the way that he used to play back in the day. It’s a real pity he has to stop playing now, he’s certainly one of the best players in Premier League history – I think there are better, but he’s definitely up there.”

Aguero retires as a Premier League legend

Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:

If Sergio Aguero had stayed in English football for only one season then his place in folklore would still be assured. That goal against Queens Park Rangers that snatched the title back from rivals Manchester United is destined to be replayed for as long as the game is played.

But that was Premier League goal number 23 of 184.

He is a winner of five Premier League titles.

Here are some more numbers. Aguero has not just outscored every other player since his Premier League debut, it is not particularly close. Harry Kane is still 17 behind him but the next man on the list is Jamie Vardy – some 57 goals adrift of the Argentinian.

In that period, Aguero scored 12 hat-tricks, four more than Kane, double that of Luis Suarez and triple that of anyone else in the past 10 years of Premier League football.

If these statistics are slightly skewed by the time-frame, one that encompasses his entire Manchester City career while others have emerged more recently, consider Aguero’s strike rate compared to his rivals. That shows he not only scored more but more frequently.

Sergio Agüero scored every 108 minutes on average in the Premier League, comfortably the best rate of any player in the competition's history with 20+ goals
Image:
Agüero scored every 108 minutes on average in the Premier League, comfortably the best rate of any player in the competition’s history with 20+ goals

Aguero scored his 184 Premier League goals at a rate of one every 108 minutes. Kane has scored a goal every 128 minutes, Mohamed Salah every 127 minutes. Nobody can really compete. By any metric, he is the competition’s outstanding striker of the last decade.

There were typical Aguero goals. The dart to the near post. The curled effort into the corner. But such was his longevity that it is impossible to pin him down to a handful of finishes.

Few would think he boasts one of the great left foots in Premier League history and yet he found the net 34 times with it, putting him among the top 10 left-footed scorers since making that sensational two-goal debut against Swansea in August 2011.

That game featured an outrageous strike from 30 yards. 20 more from outside the box followed, meaning that only Christian Eriksen has scored more since Aguero’s debut.

As for headers, despite being 5’8″, he was among the top half a dozen scorers of headed goals during his time in England too – the five men above him had an average height of 6’4″.

There was no knowing that he would last so long. As with other big names who arrived at the Etihad Stadium at that time, the assumption was that he would just be passing through. But while the language did not come easily, he made himself at home on the pitch.

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City is embraced by Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on November 11, 2018

The arrival of Pep Guardiola at what turned out to be the exact midpoint of his Manchester City career was a boost for the club but also a challenge for the star striker. There were doubts over his ability to adapt himself to the demands of the new coach.

He could have walked away as a club legend even then. Instead he elevated his status still further, showing his value by hitting the 20-goal mark in each of Guardiola’s first three seasons in charge. Aguero was City’s top scorer in their back-to-back title wins.

Injury and illness curtailed his influence towards the end of his time in England and there was to be no glorious finale – his final appearance for City coming in their Champions League final defeat to Chelsea in Porto. It was the one trophy that eluded him.

But Aguero retires as a Premier League icon, scorer of more goals in the competition than any other overseas player. The man who scored its most famous goal of all.

The 427 career goals in numbers

Aguero bows out with a staggering record: 427 goals from 786 games for clubs and country – equating to a career average of 0.54 per game.

His peak returns came in City blue, with 260 goals from 390 appearances – in addition to scoring 16 of his 18 career hat-tricks during his decade at the Etihad.

The Argentinian netted 28 or more goals in seven out of eight seasons across all competitions between 2011/12 and 2018/19, scoring a career-high off 33 in 2016/17.

Injuries often diminished game time, but Aguero surpassed a goal ratio of 0.60 goals per game in all but one campaign for 10 years running from 2010 – with a career-high 0.82 when City reclaimed the Premier League crown in 2013/14.

Aguero scored 302 of his 427 haul with his favoured right boot but notched another 74 with his left and defied his 5’8″ frame with 48 headed goals – while his ability to unleash the spectacular produced 35 goals from range.

A decade in England saw the Argentinian net 184 Premier League goals – more than twice the tally he produced during five years in La Liga – with another 41 strikes on the Champions League stage.

Use the interactive table below to scroll through all 427 goals, right back to his very first for Independiente against Estudiantes De La Plata in November 2004.