Aguero magic could pose problem for Atletico
The sort of performance Sergio Aguero turned in to inspire victory over Barcelona could be a curse as well as a blessing for Atletico Madrid, who are only going to find themselves under more pressure to sell him to one of Europe’s powerhouse clubs come the end of the season.
The gifted 20-year-old, nicknamed “Kun” after a Japanese comic book hero, scored two superb goals, including a dramatic 89th minute winner, as Atletico twice came from behind to stun the visiting Primera Liga leaders 4-3.
The match was a near carbon copy of the same fixture exactly a year earlier, when Aguero grabbed a brace and created one goal in the Madrid club’s 4-2 comeback win, and the quality of his performance was underscored by the fact that he outshone his more famous compatriot Lionel Messi.
However, he has looked unsettled at times this season and was unhappy with coach Abel Resino’s decision to replace him in the 56th minute of last week’s Champions League draw with Porto.
Argentina coach Diego Maradona, the father of Aguero’s partner Gianinna, has publicly advised him to seek a move to Inter Milan and the Serie A leaders have confirmed they are monitoring him.
“We’ll be hearing again today how the big boys of Europe want to buy him,” F. Javier Diaz wrote in Monday’s edition of Spanish sports newspaper As. “For now he’s playing in the red and white stripes of Atletico, not at Inter, Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona, and it’s a matter of pride for the Atletico fans to hold on to him.”
Aguero said last month he was happy at Atletico and was not thinking about moving on but the pressure on the club to cash in will surely mount as his star continues to rise.
Selling him could make sense for both the player and the club, which lacks the earning power of Real and Barca, and they could use the proceeds to bolster a squad missing the depth enjoyed by their richer rivals.
If Atletico do try to hold on to Aguero, Champions League football will be a key factor.
Their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals of this year’s competition look slim after the 2-2 draw with Porto in Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 clash.
The win over Barca moved them up into fifth spot in the Spanish league but they are still three points behind Villarreal in fourth and eight shy of third-placed Sevilla.
PHOTO: Atletico Madrid’s Sergio “Kun” Aguero celebrates after scoring against Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, March 1, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer