Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football during a Barcelona press conference.
The Argentine was taken to hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties and chest pains in a 1-1 draw with Alaves in October. The striker was later diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia and has not played since.
Sergio Aguero Announces Football Retirement
Aguero Emotionally Says Goodbye
Understandably, Aguero was emotional throughout his press conference, which was attended by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and sporting director Txiki Begiristain. Tears often interrupted the speech no player ever wants to give, especially in the 33-year-olds circumstances.
“It’s a very difficult moment,” Aguero said. “When they did the first physical test on me in the clinic, the medical staff called me to tell me there was a very big possibility that I wouldn’t be able to keep playing. From that point, I was processing it all but it wasn’t easy. One of the doctors told me straight up, ‘that’s enough'”.
Aguero admitted he took the decision ten days ago after doing every possible to try to return to the sport he loves.
“I dreamt about playing football since I was five years old and I first touched a ball. I never thought I would get to Europe, so I want to show my gratitude to everyone regardless of where I trained.
“I’m proud of the career I’ve had and am fortunate it is happening to me now rather than before. I don’t know what awaits me in the next life but I know there are a lot of people who love me and want the best for me.”
Aguero went on to thank his two previous clubs, Atletico Madrid and Manchester City, for the support they had given him and looked towards the unknown future.
“I will leave with my head held high,” he said. “I don’t know what awaits me in the next part of my life. But I know I have people who love me. I will always remember the amazing things.”
Former teammates, fans and pundits poured in to pay their tributes to the player that brought so much joy to the sport.
Compatriot Lionel Messi wrote a touching message on Instagram; “Practically a whole career together, Kun … We lived very beautiful moments and others that were not so, all of them made us unite more and be closer friends. And we are going to continue living them together off the pitch.
“With the great joy of lifting the America’s Cup so little ago, with all the achievements you achieved in England… And the truth is that now it hurts a lot to see how you have to stop doing what you like the most because of what happened to you.
“Surely you will continue to be happy because you are a person who transmits happiness and those of us who love you will be with you.
“Now a new stage of your life begins and I am convinced that you are going to live it with a smile and with all the illusion that you put into everything.”
The seven time Balon d’Or winner added: “All the best in this new stage !!! I love you a lot, friend, I’m going to miss a lot being with you on the pitch and when we get together with the National Team !!! @Kun Aguero.”
Former City teammates Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany joined Messi on social media with the Ivorian calling him “one of the greatest” and City’s former captain stating he is “an authentic Man City phenomenon”.
Roberto Mancini, who first managed Aguero in England, told Gazzetta: “I’m so sad for Sergio, really – I wish him all the best. It’s a pity to see him forced to leave football so early. I still remember how strongly I wanted to sign him at Man City, he’s been incredible.”
Joe Hart, Celtic’s goalkeeper, said: “The entire footballing world appreciates you for the player you are, everything you achieved in the game and all the smiles you put on people’s faces.”
City chairman Khaldoon Mubarak, Micah Richards, Real Madrid, Alan Shearer, Riyad Mahrez, Atletico Madrid and so many others also came out in support of Aguero.
Guardiola offered one lasting tribute which shows the height of Aguero’s career. He told ESPN Argentina: “Maradona conquered Italy, Messi did it in Spain and Aguero did it in England. His numbers speak for themselves.”
Sergio Aguero is listed fourth in the Premier League’s all-time top goalscorers – behind Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andy Cole, (187). He is also the highest-scoring foreign player with 184 goals, therefore edging out Thierry Henry by just nine goals.
These goals came at a ratio of 108 minutes, by far the best in the competition, which included 12 hattricks (18 hattricks in all competitions). He reached over 30 goals for Manchester City in a season on five different occasions.
In addition, 128 teams were victims of Aguero’s brilliance. Between his first in November 2004 and his last goal in October 2021, 16 years and 332 days had passed.
Finally, he scored one title-winning goal, recorded on 13th May 2012, which changed the Premier League forever.