Sergio Aguero is proud to look back on his career achievements after announcing his retirement at the age of 33.

The Barcelona forward confirmed his decision to retire on Wednesday at an event featuring president Joan Laporta and the Blaugrana's first-team players, while representatives of Aguero's other clubs – including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola – also attended.

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

Further tests resulted in the Argentina forward being ruled out for three months to undergo a "diagnostic and therapeutic process". After consultations with specialists, Aguero was told it would be too great a risk to continue playing.

Aguero was in tears as he confirmed his retirement at Camp Nou but is happy with what he achieved throughout an astounding career.

"I was in good hands with the medical staff who did their best, who told me the best thing would be to stop playing," Aguero said.

"So, ten days ago I made that decision, but I want to tell everyone I did everything to have some hope, but there wasn't very much.

"I'm very proud of the career I've had, I'm very happy. I always dreamt of playing football since I was five, my dream was to play in the Primera [Argentina] – I never thought I'd get to Europe, so I want to thank everyone.

"Atletico took a bet on me when I was just 18, people at City – you know how I feel about City, I did everything to the best I could there, I'm very grateful because they looked after me very well, and everyone here at Barca. The team has been great to me, without doubt one of the best clubs in the world.

"I'm grateful because they treated me really well, and of course the Argentina national team, what I love the most. I'm grateful to everyone who's come today, my family, people who've worked with me, and to my team-mates – most recently of Barca – I think I always did my best to help them win.

"I also give my thanks to my team-mates who helped me to grow, and I'll leave now with my head held high, happy. I don't know what awaits me next, but I know there's lots of people who love me and want the best for me. I'm grateful to everyone who's here, all the clubs I played at, and I'll always remember the amazing things."

Aguero helped City win five Premier League titles during his time with the club – his last-gasp goal against QPR in 2012 securing one of the most memorable titles successes in the competition's history.

He left City having scored 184 times in the Premier League at a rate of one every 108 minutes, the best frequency of any player to net at least 20 in the competition's history. In fact, Aguero could play another 2,520 minutes of Premier League action (the equivalent of 28 full games) without scoring, and he would still have the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any player to have scored 20 or more.

The City player closest to that ratio (min. 20 goals) is Edin Dzeko, who scored a goal every 141.6 minutes for City in the English top flight. 

Aguero is also the Premier League's highest-scoring overseas player and holds the record for the number of goals scored for one club.

His only goal for Barcelona came in a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in October. A calf injury prevented him from playing more before his heart issue, though he helped Argentina win the Copa America in Brazil during the off-season.

Asked if he had processed the change in his life, Aguero replied: "I feel okay right now, obviously the first two weeks were really difficult. When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called to say there was a big possibility I wouldn't be able to keep playing.

"I started to process then but it wasn't easy. I'm still processing everything – one of the doctors told me straight up, that's enough. When it was definitive, it took another few days to process. Right now, I'm okay but it was difficult."

Sergio Aguero has retired at the age of 33 due to a heart problem.

The Barcelona forward announced his decision to retire 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.

Sergi Barjuan, interim coach at the time, said Aguero told him he was feeling "a little dizzy".

Further tests resulted in Aguero being ruled out for three months to undergo a "diagnostic and therapeutic process". 

However, after consultations with specialists, the Argentina international has been told it is too much of a risk to continue playing.

An emotional Aguero said at Camp Nou on Wednesday: "This conference is to communicate that I have decided to stop playing football.

"It's a very difficult moment. The decision I've made, I've taken it for my health, because of the problem I had a month and a half ago. I was in good hands with the medical staff, who did their best, who told me the best thing would be to stop playing.

"So, 10 days ago I made that decision, but I want to tell everyone I did everything to have some hope, but there wasn't very much."

Aguero joined Barca on a free transfer from City in July, but a calf injury meant he did not make his debut until October.

He made five appearances in all competitions for Barca, playing just 166 minutes, with his sole goal coming in the form of a late consolation in a 2-1 Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

Aguero scored a club-record 260 goals in 390 appearances in a trophy-laden decade at City, including their famous last-gasp winner against QPR in 2011-12 to clinch the club's maiden Premier League title.

Sergio Aguero has decided to retire.

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.

After consultations with specialists, the Argentina international has been told it is too much of a risk to continue playing.

Barcelona were the last club Aguero played and scored for in a storied career, but it'll be his exploits for Manchester City that will be remembered most fondly in the football world.

He left the club earlier this year after a decade in Manchester that cemented his status as one of City's greatest ever players – he made an immediate impact upon joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011, plundering 23 top-flight goals in his first season, including the dramatic stoppage-time winner against QPR on the final day of the campaign to seal their first-ever Premier League title. 

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at the legacy of Aguero's exceptional career as a matchwinner and goalscorer. 

Aguero untouchable as City's leading marksman

No City player comes close to Aguero's simply outstanding scoring record.

He left City having scored 184 times in the Premier League at a rate of one every 108 minutes, the best frequency of any player to net at least 20 in the competition's history.

The City player closest to that ratio (min. 20 goals) is Edin Dzeko, who scored a goal every 141.6 minutes for City in the English top flight. 

City's second-highest scorer in the Premier League is Raheem Sterling, though he is 102 goals adrift of Aguero on 82.

Behind Sterling is Yaya Toure (62), followed by David Silva (60), Carlos Tevez (58) and Dzeko (50).

Even when you extend it to all competitions throughout City's history, no one gets within 80 goals of Aguero, with his 260 well clear of Eric Brook (177).

In esteemed Premier League company

Sadly, the final season of Aguero's Premier League stint was blighted by injuries, restricting him to just 12 appearances and four goals.

Nevertheless, he departed England as an all-time great such was his consistent excellence in front of goal.

Indeed, only three players have scored more than his 184 in the competition: Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andrew Cole (187). 

All three, however, required significantly more minutes to score each goal, with Aguero's rate (one every 108 mins) comfortably better than Shearer's 146.86, Rooney's 182.78 and Cole's 169.14. 

Thierry Henry is the only player to have gotten close to a similar standard in the Premier League, with the Frenchman netting every 122 minutes on average – Mohamed Salah might fancy his chances of rivalling Aguero, however. His 111 goals have been scored at a rate of one every 127 minutes.

One-club man… sort of

Aguero's goal frequency was just one of several areas where he stands out in front, though.

Of course, he was never able to topple Alan Shearer's overall record for Premier League goals (260), but Aguero has scored more goals than anyone else for a single club.

His final goal for City, a header in a 5-0 demolition of Everton back in May, saw him overtake Wayne Rooney's haul of 183 for one club (Manchester United).

Remarkably, Aguero needed 118 fewer matches to reach the landmark than Rooney, which is saying something.

Harry Kane (167) may yet surpass Aguero – though if he ultimately ends up being the Argentinian's 'heir' at City, that record may stand for quite a while.

A box of hat-tricks

It's arguable the Premier League has never seen a more insatiable striker.

Some might be tempted to kick back once they have one or two goals – sure, a hat-trick would be nice, but their job is already done…

That certainly wasn't the case with Aguero, who was utterly relentless.

His 12 Premier League hat-tricks is a record and will likely remain the benchmark for years given only Shearer (11) has reached double figures for trebles in the competition.

It wasn't a case of Aguero filling his boots against the same lowly opposition all the time either. He only got more than one hat-trick against two teams (two each versus Newcastle United and Chelsea).

One of those hat-tricks against Newcastle came in a remarkable five-goal haul back in October 2015, helping City to a 6-1 victory. Granted, four players had managed such a feat before, though Aguero did his damage in just 66 minutes on the pitch – the previous quartet all played for 90 minutes.

Among Europe's elite finishers

Rightly or not, Aguero was probably too much of a pure finisher to ever really be considered in the same standing as players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who generally scored and contributed more in general.

But there's little doubt the Independiente youth product was one of the finest forwards of his generation.

Since January 1, 2000, only five players – Cristiano Ronaldo (483), Lionel Messi (475), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (300), Robert Lewandowski (295) and Edinson Cavani (261) – have scored more goals in Europe's 'big five' leagues than Aguero (259) across his spells with Atleti, City and Barca.

His minutes-per-goal rate jumps slightly to one every 128 minutes when factoring in his time in LaLiga, which puts him 10th among players to have scored at least 150 goals in the major European leagues, but let's not forget that includes his days as a teenager as well as last season when he was having to battle fitness issues.

Sadly, we never got to see Aguero return to the heights he scaled during his peak at City, with injuries restricting him to only five appearances for Barcelona.

But given the circumstances surrounding his retirement, things could have been a lot worse. This farewell gives us the chance to happily reflect on what a privilege it was to watch Sergio 'Kun' Aguero.

Sergio Aguero confirmed his retirement on Wednesday to bring to an end a glittering career that shone most brightly during his time at Manchester City.

He spent a trophy-filled decade in Manchester, winning the Premier League title five times with a club that had never claimed the honour before his arrival.

And Aguero's goals, of which there were 260, played a huge part in that success.

On the day he revealed he had hung up his boots, Stats Perform takes a look back at 10 of the best goals Aguero scored for City.

Swansea City (H): August 15, 2011

A club-record signing following his reported £38million arrival from Atletico, Aguero announced himself with a stunning substitute cameo in City's opening game of the 2011-12 campaign. Having slid in at close range to double the advantage granted by Edin Dzeko's opener, he inventively set up David Silva's third before saving the best until last. Aguero collected Yaya Toure's flicked pass 30 yards from goal and arrowed a venomous, dipping long-range strike into the corner. It was love at first sight for the City faithful.

Norwich City (A): April 14, 2012

Carlos Tevez going AWOL for a significant chunk of Aguero's debut season in the Premier League meant a forward partnership that promised much was only viewed fleetingly. However, the dynamic Argentine duo belatedly linked up during the closing weeks of the campaign, never more effectively than in a 6-1 demolition of Norwich at Carrow Road. Tevez famously swung an imaginary golf club – in reference to his recently curtailed leisure time in Argentina – upon completing his hat-trick but the first of an Aguero double provided the game's outstanding moment. He latched on to a bouncing return backheel from Tevez, the pair's livewire movement having perplexed the Canaries defence, to thump into the top corner from the edge of the box.

QPR (H): May 13, 2012

An unforgettable moment replayed countless times, both era defining for the league and career defining for its central figure, it is easy to forget what a technically brilliant piece of centre-forward play Aguero's heroic intervention during the dying seconds of the season against QPR was. As the seeming formality of Premier League title glory slipped ever closer to the clutches of rivals Manchester United, the Argentine mimicked many of his country's great attackers by dropping into midfield. Taking possession from Nigel de Jong, an alert Aguero picked out Mario Balotelli with his back to goal. As with much before and after the eccentric Italian's time at the Etihad Stadium, what followed was not simple, but Balotelli managed to complete a return pass while on his backside. Aguero touched the ball into space beyond Taye Taiwo's lunging challenge, keeping his balance as the QPR defender clipped him. "I hit the ball as hard as I could and hoped for the best," Aguero recalled. Cue bedlam.

Liverpool (H): February 3, 2013

City's title defence the following season stuttered as their talisman grappled with fitness niggles but he was at his awe-inspiring best to snatch a draw against Liverpool. Five minutes after a trademark long-ranger from Steven Gerrard put the Reds 2-1 ahead, Aguero scampered after Gareth Barry's raking ball into the right channel and found visiting goalkeeper Pepe Reina hurtling off his line. The City man got there first and hooked home from an improbable angle out on the wing.

Manchester United (A): April 8, 2013

United were on the verge of regaining the title from their neighbours by the time City arrived at Old Trafford for the season's second derby, but Aguero served up a reminder of the misery his final-day exploits inflicted upon them 11 months earlier. There were parallels with that famous strike as he stole in front of Danny Welbeck to receive a pass from Toure and embarked upon a driving diagonal run towards the right-hand corner of the United six-yard box. Phil Jones launched a despairing lunge as his adversary superbly dug out a finish into the roof of the net.

Manchester United (H): September 22, 2013

Aguero set the tone for a rampant City derby display and a season of contrasting fortunes for the Manchester clubs, who were each under new management in the form of Manuel Pellegrini and David Moyes. Samir Nasri's backheel found Aleksandar Kolarov and the overlapping left-back fizzed over a fierce cross that Aguero contorted himself brilliantly to convert with a left-footed volley. He claimed a second in a 4-1 win and City would finish the campaign as champions, with United in seventh and Moyes out of a job.

Newcastle United (H): October 3, 2015

The Buenos Aires native's insatiable appetite for goals has never been more clinically demonstrated than when he put an overmatched Newcastle to the sword. City won 6-1 and Aguero scored five of them, all in the space of 20 minutes. Half-time did at least give Steve McClaren's men respite after their tormentor cancelled out Aleksandar Mitrovic's opener, but a brutal evisceration followed. Aguero's third was his best, when he applied a delicate dinked finish on the end of an irresistible passing triangle featuring Silva, Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne.

Leicester City (H): February 10, 2018

Already with the match ball in the bag, Aguero had one more thunderous trick up his sleeve in the 5-1 thrashing of Leicester in 2018. Phil Foden picked out City's penalty box animal outside his natural habitat 25 yards from goal. Nevertheless, there was only one thing on Aguero's mind as he touched the ball forward and larruped a strike past Kasper Schmeichel that crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced up into the roof of the net.

Arsenal (N): February 25, 2018

City made a nervous start at Wembley before Aguero tuned into the same wavelength as Claudio Bravo. The Chile keeper floated a goal-kick in the direction of his fellow South American, who nudged a dawdling Shkodran Mustafi, bore down on goal and lifted the bouncing ball delicately over the advancing David Ospina. The first trophy of the Pep Guardiola era was scarcely in doubt after that point.

Chelsea (H): February 10, 2019

Having earlier missed an open goal from three yards out to leave Guardiola in disbelief on the touchline, Aguero almost overcompensated with the stunning quality of his strike that set him on his way to claiming the match ball. City went on to win this game 6-0, but it was Aguero's 13th-minute thunderbolt that will live longest in the memory. He held off the attentions of two Blues defenders before rifling in a 25-yarder that left Kepa Arrizabalaga with no chance.

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.

A little over two minutes before the moment that will forever define his career, Manchester City hero Sergio Aguero showed sharpness in the Queens Park Rangers goalmouth that would not have been out of place at Old Trafford.

Old Trafford cricket ground that is, just down the road from City's bitter rivals and their home of the same name.

As Edin Dzeko's equaliser from David Silva's right-wing corner bounced back off the netting, Aguero pounced, snaffling it like a quicksilver short-leg fielder and darting back to the centre circle for City's final tilt at the improbable.

There was certainly nothing wrong with the striker's movement after Joey Barton brazenly tried to dead leg him – one of many surreal and key incidents that fed into a frenzied and famous race against the clock on May 13, 2012.

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The whole story is now as well-worn as any in football history.

On the cusp of a first top-flight title for 44 years, Robert Mancini's Manchester City faced relegation-threatened QPR on the final day of the season. In their previous 18 Premier League home matches that season, they had won 17 and drawn the other – the most recent of those a 1-0 win over United that tipped a titanic Mancunian tussle back towards the blue side of town.

City simply needed to match United's result at Sunderland and led 1-0 at the interval thanks to Pablo Zabaleta, only for second-half goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie to turn the contest on its head.

It remained 2-1 heading into stoppage time despite QPR operating with 10 men. City youth product Barton was dismissed for tussling with Carlos Tevez and responded to Mike Dean's red card by thumping his knee into Aguero's thigh before aiming a headbutt at Vincent Kompany. Fireworks enthusiast Mario Balotelli poured some petrol on this particular bonfire by confronting the combustible Scouser as he stomped towards the tunnel.

Aside from that significant blemish, QPR's discipline was otherwise impeccable. Despite ceding 81.3 possession overall and 84.1 per cent during the second half, they only made seven fouls. Stoppages were infrequent as City thrashed and flailed with increasing desperation and diminishing artistry around the opposition penalty area.

Without Barton's meltdown, there is little chance five minutes of stoppage time - or the three minutes and 20 seconds they ultimately required - would have been signalled. It was time City desperately needed and time they could put to good use with their top scorer's fast-twitch fibres bristling.

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Barton was not the only QPR man with City connections. His team-mates Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha had also graduated through Jim Cassell's Platt Lane youth system, while Rangers boss Mark Hughes was Mancini's immediate predecessor, having been axed shortly before Christmas in 2009.

Hughes, of course, also played for United with distinction across two spells, and those loyalties struck a chord as news came through Bolton Wanderers had failed to beat Stoke City, meaning the Londoners were safe irrespective of the outcome at the Etihad Stadium.

"[City] got back on level terms and I always remember, at that point, I knew we were safe because the other result came in," he told the Coaches Voice in 2020.

"I'm thinking, 'I wouldn't mind United winning, if I'm honest'. It's 2-2 and Jay Bothroyd looked over, asking what we wanted them to do [from the restart]. The players understood the [Bolton] game was over and we'd stayed up. We just said kick it as far as you can, right in the corner and the game's over."

Hughes' recollections from that point credit City with a poise they absolutely lacked. Rarely can a team have scored twice in this space of two minutes and – save for a crucial few seconds – played so shambolically.

Bothroyd's hoof found touch and scampering Joe Hart ran out of his goal to take the throw-in. The England goalkeeper almost missed the pitch.

Gael Clichy carried the ball down the flank, only for his attempted cross to turn into a block tackle with Mackie. Samir Nasri's aimless, floated effort that followed did little more than give Clint Hill a ninth successful clearance of the afternoon.

Nasri then excelled himself by shepherding the ball out for a QPR throw-in. Just 40 seconds before that explosion of ecstasy there was fury and anguish in the stands. Aguero watched it all from roughly the QPR penalty spot. Apparently he'd seen quite enough.

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Aguero honed his lethal skills playing against bigger boys in Buenos Aires on the neighbourhood potrero – the hard gravel and mud neighbourhood pitches that football purists in Argentina bemoan are a diminishing presence.

"When you play you have to think fast. Who to take on, who not," Aguero said when recalling those days in a 2018 documentary for City's in-house television channel. "You know who is going to play dirty, who isn't.

"You start to realise what you can do on the pitch and what you can't."

Reflecting further in the 2019 book 'Pep's City' by Pol Ballus and Lu Martin, he further explained the proving ground that readied him for Barton and others.

"Getting kicked black and blue was all part of the game," he said. "You held on to the ball any way you could.

"Running with the ball was a whole different concept for us. I'd be up against big, tough boys and I was always the smallest. But I learned how to survive."

Aguero remembered those matches were played for the prize of a peso, which would garner one of his favourite sweet treats, an alfajor or dulce de leche.

As United's players took in full-time and three points at the Stadium of Light, and Nigel de Jong brought the ball forward in Manchester to the soundtrack of QPR celebrations – their fans aware of Bolton's fate – the stakes were somewhat higher.

Vacating his spot in a penalty area already crowded by substitutes Dzeko and Balotelli, along with a marauding Kompany, Aguero took possession from De Jong 30 yards from goal.

He faced up to a compact QPR back four, with the visitors' four midfielders all in his immediate vicinity.

"You start to realise what you can do on the pitch and what you can't."

A shuffling touch to his left engineered space outside Shaun Derry, but Aguero needed help. Ideally from someone reliable, given the complete lack of any margin for error.

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Balotelli was on the pitch in a Manchester City shirt for the first time in over a month.

Mancini had not trusted his wayward protege since a brainless red card in a 1-0 Easter Sunday defeat at Arsenal left City eight points behind United with six games to play. Tevez, who had spent the bulk of the campaign AWOL playing golf in Argentina, represented a far more dependable option.

But with nowhere left to turn, he dared and prayed for Mario to be super. However briefly.

Introduced in the 76th minute, Balotelli gave the impression he had not just been banished from Premier League arenas, but football pitches altogether since his previous game.

The Italy striker managed to run through seven attempts – two on target, five blocked – during a frenzied cameo. It was probably as well Aguero found him with his back to goal, inside the D and grappling with Anton Ferdinand.

"I tried to control the ball and I had a contact from the defender and the ball went a little bit far from my foot," Balotelli told City TV five years on. "I thought in that half second there is maybe going to be a little bit of space for Sergio."

If Balotelli had stayed upright, the likelihood is QPR would have seen through their final piece of dogged tireless defending. In being forced on to his backside for the only assist of his Premier League career, he created opportunity and chaos.

Facing his own goal, Derry had to hurdle a prone Balotelli, while Wright-Phillips' route back to defend was also compromised. With his centre-back partner grounded, Hill held his position square on, while Kompany's haring towards the six-yard box dragged left-back Taye Taiwo with him.

A pocket of space opened up. A spot of turf Balotelli was able to locate from his sedentary position. As limbs flailed around him and a tight defence scattered, Aguero was thinking fast.

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Argentina's aforementioned tradition of tough, uncompromising neighbourhood football goes hand in hand with the mystique and mythology that cloaks the country's national sport.

A playing style grounded in skill and improvisation – La Nuestra, which translates as "our way" – was locked into the collective consciousness during the first half of the 20th century. The pre-eminent football magazine El Grafico, served to deepen this romantic attachment, with depictions of the pibe – literally a kid or urchin, whose rough and ready footballing technique combined street smarts and skill and was something of an archetype. Typically they would dribble in the gambeta style, a description that implies close control, cunning and deceit of opponents.

The idea that the likes of Diego Maradona, Ariel Ortega, Lionel Messi and all those other squat, explosive and technically brilliant attackers from Argentina immersed themselves in the yellowed pages of El Grafico archive is far-fetched, but the style is unquestionably embedded. Think of the amount of barrelling, dribbling goals such players have produced – close control, small pauses and faints as thighs piston their way through defences.

As the walls were closing in on City's title bid, Aguero showed himself to be a proud product of this lineage. When Balotelli began his battle against gravity, he deftly checked his run behind and around Wright-Phillips to open up a path to the penalty area.

Letting the pass roll, he shaped to shoot, drawing a scampering Taiwo, who left his Kompany decoy a little too late to remain in control. Aguero did not actually touch Balotelli's return pass until his body position persuaded a rash slide tackle that he nudged beyond with the outside of his right boot.

With Taiwo suitably gambeta'd, there came one last stroke of fortune.

                                                                *********************

"I touched it again and saw I was close to the goal, so I said 'I'll shoot'. The worst thing was that I wanted to shoot hard across goal and it went to the near post, I don't know what happened," Aguero told TyC Sports last year – the latter sentiment at least aligning him with every soul inside the Etihad Stadium that day.

"After watching it back, I realised that if I had shot across goal a defender could have blocked it. I celebrated the goal and told everybody, 'I hit it so well!'."

Goal 23 of a personal Premier League tally that now reads 184, one of 130 with Aguero's ferocious right boot, understandably left an indelible impression on the suddenly defeated Hughes.

"Of all the games I've been involved in, that noise at that moment when that goal went in is different to anything I've ever heard before or since.

"It was just unbelievable sound – different sound to a football crowd. It was a mixture of screaming and noise. It was just an unbelievable moment."

That racket has since been replayed thousands of times across the world. A goal on a tightrope that altered the course of English football, which began with gifting the opposition a 92nd-minute throw-in and ended thanks to a miscue after the main protagonist's strike partner fell over.

It is the Premier League's most famous goal – a moment as synonymous with Manchester as cotton mills and the Hacienda, and yet Argentinian to its very bones.

As Aguero bids farewell to football begins, expect to see it replayed another few thousand times.

Sergio Aguero has retired at the age of 33 due to a heart problem.

The Barcelona forward announced his decision to retire 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.

Sergi Barjuan, interim coach at the time, said Aguero told him he was feeling "a little dizzy".

Further tests resulted in Aguero being ruled out for three months to undergo a "diagnostic and therapeutic process". 

However, after consultations with specialists, the Argentina international has been told it is too much of a risk to continue playing.

Aguero joined Barca on a free transfer from City in July, but a calf injury meant he did not make his debut until October.

He made five appearances in all competitions for Barca, playing just 166 minutes, with his sole goal coming in the form of a late consolation in a 2-1 Clasico defeat to Real Madrid.

Aguero scored a club-record 260 goals in 390 appearances in a trophy-laden decade at City, including their famous last-gasp winner against QPR in 2011-12 to clinch the club's maiden Premier League title.

Sergio Aguero will provide a statement on his future this Wednesday amid reports the Argentinian striker has decided to retire due to a heart condition.

The 33-year-old has not played since an early substitution against Deportivo Alaves towards the end of October, when Aguero had to be taken to hospital after complaining of chest discomfort.

Sergi Barjuan, interim coach at the time, said Aguero told him he was feeling "a little dizzy".

The former Manchester City player was subsequently ruled out for at least three months in order to undergo a "diagnostic and therapeutic process".

At the time, Barca said the "effectiveness of treatment will be evaluated in order to determine his recovery process", but ever since there have been mutterings in the media that Aguero decided to retire.

Head coach Xavi denied such reports a month ago, but they resurfaced in the past week, with claims an announcement was expected on Wednesday.

Barca have now confirmed Aguero will be making a statement on Wednesday.

A brief statement read: "We inform you that on Wednesday December 15 at 12:00 [CET] at the facilities of the Camp Nou, the appearance of Sergio 'Kun' Aguero to explain his future will take place.

"The event will also feature the participation of Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona and the player of the first team."

 

Barcelona head coach Xavi has denied reports that striker Sergio Aguero has been forced to retire.

Rumours emerged on Saturday that the Argentina international will hold a news conference next week to confirm he will not resume his playing career.

Aguero has not played a game since the 1-1 draw with Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou on October 30, during which he was substituted after feeling dizzy and suffering apparent discomfort in his chest.

Barca later confirmed he would be unavailable for three months while doctors monitored a suspected cardiovascular problem. The 33-year-old tweeted on November 12 to insist he was "always positive" amid suggestions he would not be able to continue playing.

Xavi, who oversaw a 1-0 win over Espanyol in his first match in charge, insisted it was not true that Aguero's retirement was confirmed.

"What's come out isn't true," he told reporters. "I spoke with him, he's calm and happy. I asked him to come back when he was feeling okay."

 

Memphis Depay's penalty sealed Barca's victory over their city rivals, although they rode their luck in the closing stages as Raul de Tomas twice hit the post and Landry Dimata headed a glorious chance for an equaliser wide.

"I'm very happy with the three points and the effort of the players," said Xavi. "We're not in the best of spirits and Espanyol created a lot of problems for us. And we deserved the luck with the posts.

"I'm happy, and I think it was a deserved victory. What couldn't fail, which was the attitude, didn't fail."

The result moved Barca to within eight points of LaLiga leaders Sevilla, who earlier drew with Alaves, after 13 LaLiga matches.

While a title shot appears unlikely at this stage, Xavi – an eight-time league champion in a glittering playing career with the club – saw no reason to discount a challenge for the trophy.

"We're far away but there are matches left. I'm optimistic and why can't we fight for the title?" he said.

Sergio Aguero is "staying positive" as the Barcelona striker waits to discover if he will be forced to retire due to a heart problem.

Reports from Catalonia emerged on Friday suggesting Aguero may have to bring an early end to his playing career because of an irregular heartbeat.

The Argentina international first experienced chest pain in Barca's draw with Alaves on October 30, which the club later confirmed was down to a heart arrhythmia.

After undergoing tests, Aguero – who has started just two games for the LaLiga giants since arriving on a free transfer from Manchester City – was ruled out for three months.

Catalunya Radio reported the problem is worse than first feared and Aguero may have to hang up his boots at the age of 33.

However, the former Atletico Madrid striker took to Twitter on Friday to deny that is the case, with a decision on his future not being made until at least February.

"Given the rumours, I can say that I am following the indications of the club's doctors, doing tests and treatment and seeing my progress within 90 days. Always positive," he said.

Aguero had been carrying a separate injury upon joining Barca that has restricted him to only five appearances in all competitions this term, totalling 166 minutes on the field.

He scored his one and only goal in last month's Clasico showdown with Real Madrid, the late strike proving to be nothing more than a consolation in Barca's 2-1 defeat.

Prior to joining Barca, Aguero scored a club-record 260 goals in 390 appearances in a glittering decade at Man City, including their famous last-gasp winner against QPR in 2011-12 to clinch the club's maiden Premier League title.

The Buenos Aires-born forward also previously spent three years with Independiente and five with Atletico.

Pep Guardiola urged former Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to prioritise his health and be careful in his recovery from treatment for a suspected cardiovascular problem.

Aguero, who ended a 10-year spell with City at the end of last season, had to be substituted during Barcelona's 1-1 LaLiga draw with Deportivo Alaves on Saturday after feeling dizzy and suffering apparent discomfort in his chest.

The City great was sent to hospital for a cardiac exam and will now not be available for Barca until at least February, with treatment in that time set to determine the extent of his recovery process.

The news came as a shock for Barca given Aguero had started just two games for the club since joining from City, and the Argentinian has been in Guardiola's thoughts.

"I sent a message to him through his agent," Guardiola told a news conference on Tuesday. "It's difficult news for him and his family.

"We wish him – everyone at Manchester City from the staff to the chairman, all the people – a safe recovery, doesn't matter the time.

"Health is more important than anything else. I'm sure he's in very good hands, with the best doctors.

"He will take care of himself. I wish him the best recovery as possible and he can come back to play again, otherwise he [can] enjoy his life and enjoy what he has done.

"I don't know what he has, but now he knows it [that there is something wrong], he has to be careful and safe for the rest of his life."

Kyle Walker joined Guardiola for media duties ahead of a Champions League game against Club Brugge and was also rocked by the situation affecting Aguero, a team-mate of his for four years.

Walker also played at Tottenham alongside Christian Eriksen, who is yet to return to the pitch since suffering a cardiac arrest during Denmark's first Euro 2020 match, and such scares seemed to put life into perspective for the England international.

"It's a shock when it happens to anyone," Walker said. "I played with Christian [Eriksen]. You think about them and the family. I'm glad they're okay.

"We're all fit athletes and train hard every day. You have to take precautions and his health is more important than football at the minute.

"We're all human in more ways than one. We make mistakes, we put in good performances. Health is key, without health you're nothing.

"As long as Sergio's okay… I know Christian is because I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago. I spoke to him on text, said I hope he's okay.

"I played in the game at Spurs when [Fabrice] Muamba went down. Seeing it happen with a few people which isn't nice.

"The main priority is health, [Aguero] should take as much time, being fit and healthy is the main priority."

Barcelona striker Sergio Aguero will be out for three months while he undergoes treatment for a suspected cardiovascular problem.

Aguero had to be substituted during the 1-1 LaLiga draw with Deportivo Alaves after feeling dizzy and suffering apparent discomfort in his chest.

The former Manchester City star was sent to hospital for a cardiac exam and will now not be available for Barca until at least February.

A club statement confirmed: "The first team player Sergio Aguero has been subjected to a diagnostic and therapeutic process by Dr.Josep Brugada.

"He is unavailable for selection and during the next three months the effectiveness of treatment will be evaluated in order to determine his recovery process."

Aguero has only started two games since joining Barca following the end of his spectacular 10-year spell in the Premier League.

The Catalans face Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday in a key Champions League clash in Group E, in which they are third after three matches.

Sergio Aguero was taken to hospital following his early substitution against Deportivo Alaves, Barcelona have confirmed.

The Argentina international was making his first LaLiga start at Camp Nou, but was replaced by Philippe Coutinho after just 41 minutes.

Aguero went down clutching his chest and was tended to by the medical team, although he was able to get to his feet and walk from the field.

The club later confirmed the former Manchester City striker had complained of chest discomfort and had been admitted to hospital for a cardiac exam.

Barca also lost Gerard Pique to a right calf strain during the 1-1 draw.

"[Aguero] told me he was a little dizzy," interim coach Sergi Barjuan told Marca. 

"Now, I have learned that he has been taken to the hospital. I can't say more.

"Between cheering on the guys and the press conference, it's hard to know more."

The stalemate marked Sergi's first match in temporary charge following the departure of Ronald Koeman earlier this week.

Memphis Depay's sublime strike was immediately cancelled out by Luis Rioja and despite just under 80 per cent of possession and 16 shots on goal, the hosts were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

"We controlled the game, and we were intense in the second half," Sergi continued.

"We had our chances to score and win the game, but we could not take them.

"I have had very little time to work with the players. I have tried to get them in order in both a defensive and an offensive level.

"But, these players are very good, and they have to believe in themselves."

Sergio Aguero's first Barcelona start at Camp Nou ended prematurely as he was substituted before half-time against Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

The former Manchester City striker, who arrived on a free transfer in July, led the line in Barca's first game since the departure of Ronald Koeman this week.

Aguero went down clutching his chest just before the break and appeared to be in some discomfort as he was tended to by the medical team.

Although the stretcher was initially called for, the Argentina international was able to get to his feet and walk from the pitch to be replaced by Philippe Coutinho in the 41st minute.

Sergi Barjuan was taking temporary charge of the hosts, who had lost three of their past four LaLiga matches.

Barcelona saw their long winning run against Rayo Vallecano end on Wednesday as they lost 1-0 at Estadio de Vallecas.

In need of a positive result after their 2-1 Clasico defeat, Ronald Koeman's men instead suffered a fifth defeat of the season in all competitions courtesy of Radamel Falcao's first-half goal.

Barca went into this latest contest on a run of 13 consecutive LaLiga wins over Rayo in which they had averaged 4.3 goals per game, yet they paid the price for Memphis Depay's missed penalty midway through the second half.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a desperate early save to keep out Oscar Trejo's ambitious long-range chip, but it began to look like Barca would keep up that formidable scoring record, Depay going close and Sergio Aguero seeing vague penalty appeals against goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski dismissed.

Yet it was Rayo who took the lead on the half-hour mark, Trejo robbing Sergio Busquets and threading the ball to Falcao, who turned away from Gerard Pique before finishing low to Ter Stegen's right.

Sergino Dest missed a golden chance to equalise before the break, turning over the bar from point-blank range after some brilliant play from Depay down the left, and Aguero blasted high and wide from inside the box after the United States international had teed him up.

Depay earned the chance to level from the spot after he was clipped from behind by Oscar Valentin, but Dimitrievski saved superbly to his right before bravely gathering the rebound as the Barca forward closed in.

Dimitrievski was more hesitant with a loose ball outside the Rayo box in injury time, but substitute Luuk de Jong's attempted lob landed on the roof of the net.

In eight minutes of injury time, Aguero glanced a diving header wide and then set up Gavi for what looked a simple finish, but the young midfielder scuffed his effort wide.

 

What does it mean? Barca title challenge looking bleak

The end of their LaLiga dominance over Rayo feels like a watershed moment for Barca and their hopes of quickly becoming a major force again.

With four wins from 10 games, they are six points off the top of the table and have now gone five away matches in all competitions without a victory.

Falcao still has the magic touch

After scoring in three of his past four league games against Barca, it was little surprise to see Falcao convert his one chance with the kind of poise he showed in his best days with Atletico Madrid.

He had lost all four of those previous meetings with the Blaugrana, so this was a sweet moment indeed for the Colombia striker.

Aguero off-colour

It looked like Aguero would mark his first Barca start with a goal when he lined up the kind of high near-post finish that became a trademark of his at Manchester City. He missed, though – and by a long way.

With just 31 touches throughout, by far the fewest of any starting Barca player, this was not a match to bring the best out of the Argentina striker.

What's next?

The pressure will be even greater on Barca when they host Deportivo Alaves on Saturday, with Rayo heading to Celta Vigo on November 1.

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