Sergio Aguero retirement: Highlights, goals, top moments from striker’s career at Manchester City and beyond

Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from soccer due to a heart problem. The 33-year-old scored 427 career goals for club and country and won 20 major trophies, including the 2021 Copa America over the summer.

Aguero forged a reputation as clinical and cool finisher during his 10 years with Manchester City where he won five Premier League titles. We look back on a glittering career that’s seen Kun Aguero compared to both Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona. 

From title-winning hero to EPL record breaker

At his peak, Aguero scored a goal every 108 minutes — a Premier League record. When he left Manchester City in May 2021, joining Barcelona on a free transfer, the Argentine striker had 184 EPL goals to his name. Only Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andy Cole (187) managed more making Aguero England’s most prolific foreign forward. 

Aguero got 260 goals for City in all competitions with his quasi-mechanical calmness and consistency in front of goal defining his time in Manchester.

There was the thumping volley on his debut at home to Swansea in 2011, the 2013 finish against Liverpool from an impossible angle and memorable hat-tricks versus Bayern Munich (2014), Watford (2017) and Chelsea (2019).


But one strike stands out above all the rest, so much so it’s become as much a cultural moment as a goal. It came on May 13, 2012, four minutes into injury time (92 minutes and 20 seconds to be exact), and ensured Manchester City won their first top-flight title since 1968. Poetically, City pipped Manchester United to first place on the final day of the season on both occasions.

All other Aguero goals — so many of them still career defining — somehow pale into insignificance. The dramatic 3-2 victory over relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers enshrined him in both Manchester City and soccer folk law. 

Yet what made Aguero special was actually his ability to zone out the chaos a big occasion so often brings. Despite being notoriously nonchalant in training, he found focus on match days and could seemingly slow down time when on the field.

So when Mario Balotelli fed him the ball (with his only Premier League assist) it was no surprise Aguero didn’t rush or panic. He took a touch to steady himself then fired unerringly into the bottom corner. It was just a typical finish. 

Edin Dzeko and Aguero both scored in injury-time as Manchester City beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 to win the 2011/12 title.
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“In my career so far it’s the most important goal,” said Kun Aguero, whose grandparents nicknamed him after a Japanese anime series called Kum Kum. “You score the goal in the last minute to win the title. You’re not sure if that’s ever going to happen in your career again. I wish I could tell you how I did it but I can’t.

I thought for all the world that Balotelli was going to have a go himself but he just moved it on one more and it fell at my feet and I just thought: ‘Hit the target, hit it as hard as you can and hit the target.’ And it went in.”

Much will be made of that incredible moment as Aguero retires, but for much of the game he was below-par. That’s the sign of a world-class striker. To be able to turn it on in a split-second, even on an off day, is a skill in itself. 

“For 85 minutes he played his worst game of the season and I was about to punch him,” said then-captain Vincent Kompany, who is now the manager of Belgian side Anderlecht. “He was probably the worst player on the pitch. Then the moment happens and you wonder how he does it.” 

Aguero scored 23 Premier League goals in his first season with Manchester City in 2011/12. 
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Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler screaming “Aguerooooo” in a perfect pitch of shock and awe has become the soundtrack to the iconic goal. And Sergio’s surname is even a frequently-used (and memed) adjective to verbalize similarly improbable sporting moments.

Most recently the term ‘Agueroooo’ was deployed to describe Max Verstappen’s last-lap victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that saw him win a first Formula One championship.

Aguero watched that race from the pits having already privately informed friends, including Messi and Samir Nasri, of his retirement.

Difficult Barcelona spell

Aguero joined Barcelona in May on a two-year contract with a buyout clause set at $112 million.
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Aguero has known for almost a month he won’t play professional soccer again. His last game was on October 30 as Barcelona drew 1-1 with Alaves at the Camp Nou in LaLiga.

In that draw, he was treated on the field after experiencing chest pain and dizziness before being substituted at half-time. Three weeks of cardiology tests followed and retirement was advised based on medical advice.

Looking back, Aguero won’t leave the Camp Nou with too many fond memories. He joined off the back of Manchester City’s disappointing Champions League Final loss to Chelsea in Porto. 

Then, less than three months after signing, his close friend Lionel Messi moved to Paris Saint-Germain, an exit Aguero described as “sickening”. 

Aguero and Messi won the 2021 Copa America.
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And during his own six months at the Camp Nou, Aguero played just five games in all competitions. Perhaps the only highlight (if it can even be called that) was a late consolation in his first Clasico, but Barcelona’s 2-1 loss made the goal pretty bittersweet.

New Barcelona manager Xavi initially refuted November reports that Aguero had retired, but is now faced with the task of replacing him in the January transfer window. CBS sources understand that Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette are both being considered, though given Barcelona’s well publicized financial challenges their ability to land a big name remains in doubt. 

“Embarrassing” parallels with Maradona

It was perhaps fitting that Aguero confirmed his retirement just a day after Barcelona’s penalty shootout loss to Boca Juniors in the Maradona Cup — a friendly in Riyadh to pay tribute to the Argentine legend who played for both clubs and died in November last year.

Maradona was Aguero’s father-in-law and the two players were often compared due to their impressive versatility, energetic movement and ruthless finishing.

Maradona managed Aguero when Argentina coach between 2008-10.
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The pair were mentioned in the same breath right from the start of Aguero’s career as he burst onto the soccer scene with Independiente, breaking Maradona’s record as the youngest player to feature in the Argentine Primera Division at just 15 years and 35 days. 

A move to Atletico Madrid followed in 2006 where Aguero thrived playing behind Diego Forlan and scored 102 goals before his $36 million move to Manchester City in 2011.

Aguero won the 2009/10 Europa League with Atletico Madrid.
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The former City boss Roberto Mancini, who signed Augero, said he’d seen “few players like him”, while current City coach Pep Guardiola cited the Maradona comparison shortly before Aguero left for Barcelona.

“Maradona conquered Italy, Messi did it in Spain, and Aguero has done it in England,” Guardiola told ESPN. “His numbers speak for themselves. When you have that internal fire, play with that anger, his incredible talent comes out, he can win games on his own.”

But Aguero himself is pretty uncomfortable with the Maradona comparison. He actually modelled his game far more on Luiz Ronaldo, whose confidence on the ball and directness impressed a young Sergio. 

“I find it ­embarrassing when people compare me to Maradona,” Aguero said. “How can they? It’s ­disrespectful. There is only one Maradona. Diego was a complete ­one-off, an all-time great who can never be matched and will never have an equal on the football pitch.”

Aguero actually scored more goals at both club (386 vs 259) and international (41 vs 34) level than Maradona and won 10 more major trophies (20 vs 10).

But Maradona famously captained Argentina to the 1986 World Cup, while Aguero was brought to tears as Germany won the 2014 World Cup Final in extra-time in Brazil. But he does have a 2008 Olympic gold and a 2021 Copa America winners’ medal in his trophy cabinet.

Argentina beat Nigeria in the gold medal match at the Beijing Olympics. 
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Aguero won his 100th cap in Argentina’s 4–1 win against Bolivia in the group stage in July, providing the assist for Messi’s second goal. He was then an unused substitute as La Albiceleste beat hosts Brazil 1-0 in the final at the Maracana. 

What’s next for Aguero?

Aguero will certainly be in demand post-retirement; and don’t rule out a punditry or ambassadorial role for both Manchester City and the 2022 World Cup. 

He’s also likely to focus on esports. An already avid gamer, Aguero has a Twitch channel called SLAKUN10 where he live streams FIFA games to over 3.5 million followers. 

Aguero has his his own esports company called KRU Esports.
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Aguero will probably add to his impressive car collection, too. Most recently he spent $560,000 on the Ferrari SF90 Stradale — a new electric super car.

Calling time on his career was clearly not an easy choice, but health comes first and Aguero hangs up his boots with some truly incredible memories.

The ’93:20′ QPR goal will always be synonymous with his name, but let’s not forget about the other 426. After all, in his prime Aguero scored 28 goals or more for six seasons in a row — the first player to do so in English football since Jimmy Greaves.

His consistency, and ability to single-handedly win games, make him one of the top strikers of his generation and the Premier League may never see a finer foreign import.

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