Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football but will remain in the hearts of Manchester City fans for evermore.
The legendary Argentine striker will, in Spring 2022, be immortalised via a statue outside an Etihad Stadium where he produced one of the greatest moment in Premier League history and regularly held a spellbound audience in his thrall.
He has taken the decision to quit playing due health reasons after being diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia whilst playing for Barcelona in a La Liga game against Alaves in October.
From the moment he joined the English champions from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011, the supporters fell in love with their stocky, clinical, No 16 (later No 10).
It helped that he made an immediate impact by scoring twice on his debut as a substitute in a 4-0 home win over Swansea City, his infectious smile lighting up the stadium, as it would on many occasions during the following decade.
Globally he will undoubtedly be remembered for his heart-stopping, injury-time winner against QPR which tore the title out of the hands of neighbours Manchester United. It was City’s first Premier League era crown.
Aguero went on to become City’s all-time record goalscorer, overtaking Eric Brook’s 78-year record during the 2017 season. When he left for Barcelona at the end of the last campaign he had scored a mind-boggling 260 goals in 390 matches.
He is the highest scoring overseas player in Premier League history - behind only Englishmen Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andrew Cole in the overall charts - and set the record for the most Premier League hat-tricks with 12. He also chalked up the most goals scored by anyone in the English top flight for a single club. In all he won 15 trophies during his time in Manchester.
In terms of his lethal goals-per-match ratio there is a strong argument that Aguero is the greatest ever Premier League striker.
The 33-year-old’s departure for the Camp Nou was met with universal sadness by the City faithful, though he went back to Spain with praise and gratitude ringing in his ears, not least from the man who authorised his signing a decade earlier, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
“In his 10 years at City, he never once gave anybody in this club any heartache, any problems,” Al Mubarak said. “He was always the perfect professional, humble, committed, passionate and delivering time after time on the pitch. That was Sergio Aguero the player. A statue is the least we could to honour his legacy.
“His influence on English football is unquestionable. Sergio’s contribution to Manchester City over the 10 years he was at the club cannot be overstated. His legend will be indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who loves City and maybe even in those who simply love football. He is an all-time great loved by everyone who got to know him.”
Pep Guardiola, the City manager, spoke for all at City when he declared that Aguero putting his health first was the right thing to do.
“It was difficult news for everyone, especially him and his family,” he said. “We wish him well - he knows it. From our chairman and all our players and staff, we wish him a safe recovery. Life is much more important than anything else, and he knows that.
“Being the legend that he is, coming to this country where it is so difficult to score goals and doing what he did for so many years was incredible. The quality of the player shows in his numbers, his performances and titles.
“He is an absolute top legend, an extraordinary player. The goal against QPR in 2012 is the history of the club. Even if we win the Champions League, nothing can compare to that moment.”