Sergio Aguero stepped out of the shadows in 2010-11. Following four successful seasons in Spain, the Argentina forward produced what proceeded to be a final flourish in La Liga, on the way to bigger and better things.
|"It will be difficult for him to get to Messi's level, but 'Kun' has everything to become a great"
- Diego Maradona
Alongside Uruguay's Diego Forlan, Aguero had formed one of the great strike partnerships in European football. The two seemed to combine almost telepathically at times, allowing Atletico to punch above their weight against superior sides.
|MOMENT OF THE SEASON
| LA LIGA:
MALLORCA 3-4 ATLETICO MADRID
|Aguero saved the best until last as he swept home his first La Liga hat-trick in what turned out to be his last match for Atletico, surpassing 100 goals in Spain in the process and bringing his season's tally to 27, including 20 in just 32 league games.
In 2009-10, Quique Sanchez Flores' team picked up a first piece of silverware since the 1996 league and cup double as they claimed the Europa League title with victory over Fulham. Aguero set up both goals for Forlan that night and the Argentine picked up where he had left off following the summer break, making one and scoring the other as Atletico denied Inter a haul of six trophies in a year and claimed the Uefa Super Cup with a 2-0 win over the Italian side.
It was a promising start to what turned out to be a frustrating campaign in the end for Atletico as Sanchez Flores and Forlan fell out, that saw the Uruguayan benched for the latter part of the season. Tensions were high and morale was low as Atletico slid down the table. Europe began to look like an impossible dream and someone needed to step up.
That someone was Aguero. Following something of a scoring drought, the Argentina forward went on an impressive run to convert in each of the last eight league matches - including a hat-trick in the 4-3 victory over Mallorca on the last day. In Forlan's absence, 'Kun' adopted additional responsibilities and virtually carried the team into Europe on his own. It would be his last contribution in Atletico colours, however, as three days later he announced his intention to leave for a club able to match his lofty ambitions.
The process was far from smooth, though, and as Aguero flew to Argentina for the Copa America, his future was also very much up in the air. Real Madrid and Juventus were linked, but Manchester City won the race for his signature in the end.
|"In Forlan's absence, 'Kun' adopted additional responsibilities and virtually carried the team into Europe on is own. It would be his last contribution in Atletico colours."|
In the meantime, 'Kun' came of age with his national side, rescuing a point for Argentina following an uninspired performance against Bolivia and bagging a brace in his team's only Copa win - a 3-0 success over Costa Rica.
Still only 23, Aguero is now ready for new challenges in a career which has already proved spectacular. Five years in Spain brought plenty of goals and assists, many moments of brilliance and match-winning performances against the very best - including Barcelona. If he can produce more of the same in the Premier League, City fans are likely to be more than happy with that.
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