Tuesday 25 July 2017

New City slicker better than Tevez and without the baggage

Ian Herbert

The comparisons between Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez will inevitably come thick and fast in the weeks ahead -- the two bull-like strikers grew up less than 20 miles apart in the Villa Itati neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.

However, while Tevez has been unable to lay his hat anywhere for long in England, Aguero has lived the life of a free spirit ever since he left his homeland as an 18-year-old.

The tattoo of his nickname, 'Kun', which he wears on the inside of his right arm, is inscribed in Tengwar, a script created by JRR Tolkien and used by the elves in his books.

The Aguero humour is elfish, too. The soft Argentinian accent is almost imperceptible but there was a glint in his eye last year when he was asked what he would be if not a footballer. "A footballer's wife," he replied.

City dedicate long hours to try to understand the psyche of their transfer targets -- a 50-page dossier on David Silva even included details on his Valencia home, so they could find him something similar in Manchester -- and the club's Spanish scout, Rob Newman, could tell his bosses with certainty that Aguero would not arrive with the same baggage as Tevez.

The reasons are not complex. The science of scouting attaches great significance to the parental forces in the lives of new recruits.

While there is no evidence anywhere in the Tevez story of an encouraging paternal presence, Aguero's escape from Villa Itati owed much to Leonel, the father who drove taxis in the neighbourhood to make ends meet while trying to break into the game and then coached one of his son's first youth teams.

It was not an entirely straightforward progression to Europe when Aguero's extraordinary success for Independiente brought him a move to Atletico Madrid at the age of only 18, five years ago.

In his first year in Spain, there was too much meat and fizzy drinks and not enough sleep. His game suffered.

And it was the extended Aguero family entourage -- seven siblings and the parents, who would decamp to Madrid for three months at a time -- which made the crucial difference. The same will happen in Manchester.

Another significant part of the story has been Giannina Maradona, his redoubtable wife, who is the daughter of Diego and a stabilising presence from the moment she and Aguero first braved the fans and paparazzi at the Vicente Calderon. It took them 15 minutes to walk the 100 metres from stadium to car.

"His wife, Giannina, has helped him a lot," said Real Zaragoza manager Javier Aguierre, who was Aguero's first coach in Europe.

"If she is with him in Manchester, he will have no problems adapting. He is from a lovely family and his brothers and sisters are charming, too."

The differences between the two Argentinians extend further.

Aguero, who can lead the line or operate behind the striker in the trequartista role, which has fascinated City manager Roberto Mancini ever since he wrote a research paper on the subject during his first job at Fiorentina, is generally brighter than Tevez -- sharper and more adaptable. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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