If there is one striker in the world who suffers for his consistency, it’s Aguero. While the Manchester City focus is often on those who play just behind the striker – Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling – Aguero just keeps on scoring goals.
He has now managed 20 or more league goals in four successive seasons. By way of example, Wayne Rooney never did it in back-to-back campaigns.
That achievement is more impressive still when you consider Aguero’s injury issues. Since the beginning of last season, the 30-year-old has scored or assisted 39 league goals but started just 35 matches. His ability to hit the ground running after absence was one of the driving forces behind Manchester City’s record-breaking Premier League title triumph. It saw Aguero finally named in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time.
And yet the Argentine is still overlooked for individual honours. He was not nominated for the PFA Player of the Year in 2018 and received only seven votes in the Ballon d’Or voting – fewer than Paul Pogba and Thibaut Courtois, and one more than Karim Benzema. Aguero’s achievement has become so normalised that is too easily overlooked.
But his greatest feat in 2018 lies not in how many goals he scored, but how he played. After Pep Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester City, there were serious questions asked about Aguero’s ability to adapt to Guardiola’s demands. The arrival of Gabriel Jesus only added fuel to the same fire.
But this year, Aguero re-established himself as the top dog of Manchester City strikers. His work in linking play, holding up the ball and movement on the edge of the penalty area may not have been natural to Aguero at 25, but all are now vital to City’s attack. It is his selflessness that allows Sterling to get so close to goal.
There are few players that Guardiola trusts implicitly in their role, and for a while Aguero didn’t make that list. But through maturity, a will to learn, hard work and no little talent, he has adapted his game to become the perfect centre-forward for Manchester City’s system. All the while, that goalscoring aptitude remains as high as ever.