EPL

Aguero retires: Man City's best buys of the Sheikh Mansour era

By Sports Desk December 15, 2021

Sergio Aguero has confirmed his retirement, at the age of 33.

The Barcelona forward announced his decision in a statement on Wednesday that was delivered at an event featuring president Joan Laporta and the club's first-team players.

Aguero, who starred for Atletico Madrid before becoming a Manchester City great, suffered chest pain in the draw with Deportivo Alaves on October 30, which the club confirmed was down to a heart arrhythmia.

He scored just one goal for Barca – an injury time consolation in October's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

But it will be his time at City that will be most fondly remembered, and he undoubtedly goes down as one of the club's greatest signings.

Aguero's arrival in 2011 came three years after the Abu Dhabi United Group's stunning takeover of City drastically altered the trajectory of the club and the Premier League.

September 1, 2008 began with news of City's new ownership group – funded by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan's lavish wealth – and ended with the club-record signing of Robinho from Real Madrid, after an unlikely deadline day tug-of-war with Manchester United for Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov.

Stats Perform marks Aguero's retirement by looking at City's best signings of the Mansour era.

DAVID SILVA

Often regarded as City's finest ever player, the mercurial playmaker arrived from Valencia for £25million in 2010 with a newly acquired World Cup winners' medal in his pocket. Silva has been integral to every City title triumph since. Whether gilding around in Roberto Mancini's powerful line-up, dazzling as the creative inspiration under Manuel Pellegrini or lifting Pep Guardiola's current vintage to new heights, City were always been a significantly better team with Silva in the line-up.

He left for Real Sociedad following the expiration of his contract in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic robbing him of a farewell in front of fans at the Etihad Stadium.

YAYA TOURE

Derided in some quarters as an over-priced defensive midfielder when he joined from Barcelona for £24m during the same close-season as Silva, Toure proved to be so, so much more. The most dominant and complete midfield presence of the era, he became City's 'clutch' player, amassing a collection of memorable goals in Wembley showpieces and title run-ins.

The towering Ivorian was indisputably at his peak when he scored a staggering 20 Premier League goals from central midfield on the way to the title in 2013-14.

SERGIO AGUERO

Aguero scored 30 or more goals in all competitions in five separate seasons during his time at City, for whom he netted 16 hat-tricks. He is the fourth-highest scoring player in Premier League history with 184 goals in 275 games, behind Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andrew Cole (187), making him the highest-scoring overseas player, and he also holds the Premier League record for most goals scored at one club.

The most famous of them all will always be that incredible, last-gasp, Premier League-title clinching winner against QPR in 2012. His 259th and 260th goals for City came in the form of a double from the bench in a 5-0 rout of Everton in front of 10,000 supporters at the end of the 2020-21 season. 

KEVIN DE BRUYNE

Eyebrows were raised when City broke their transfer record to bring in the reigning Bundesliga Player of the Year from Wolfsburg in August 2015 following his failed spell at Chelsea. The Belgium star soon made the £55m fee seem wholly worthwhile as a relentless work-rate, vast range of passing and rasping shot from either foot established him as one of the leading lights in England's top flight.

An assist machine he was Guardiola's standout performer as City stormed to Premier League glory in 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21, while his injury in last season's Champions League final was a huge blow to the Citizens as they went down 1-0 to Chelsea.

EDERSON  

Guardiola spent heavily on defensive reinforcements as he overhauled the squad left to him by Pellegrini but nobody has been a more important recruit for the Catalan than the man stationed behind his backline. Ederson brought much-needed authority to City's defence after Claudio Bravo's haphazard first season, while his composure and skill with the ball at his feet has come to define the team's style.

Without the Brazil international, it would have been impossible for Guardiola to so fully realise his footballing vision at the Etihad Stadium, and Ederson has also proved a fantastic shot-stopper. Indeed, Saturday's win over Wolves brought up his 100th clean sheet for the club in just 212 games.

RUBEN DIAS

With Vincent Kompany having left in 2019, City struggled to replace their talismanic leader the following season. Indeed, he had scored a brilliant, crucial goal as Guardiola's team went on to edge out Liverpool in the 2018-19 title race.

However, they found the heir to Kompany's throne a year later with the £65m purchase of Ruben Dias from Benfica. The centre-back slotted straight into the side and has become the key cog in a formidable defence. He was named Footballer of the Year by the FWA after his first season with City and signed a new six-year deal in August.

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