When Pep Guardiola dropped Sergio Aguero for his side’s pivotal Champions League clash against FC Barcelona in October last year, Manchester City fans knew they were in for a wild ride. It didn’t end there. When the Brazilian teenage sensation Gabriel Jesus made his way to Manchester City from Brazilian club Palmeiras in January this year, many feared for Aguero’s future at the club.
And they were proved right.
Aguero was dropped by Guardiola for 3 successive matches at the expense of Jesus, who made an explosive start to his City career after scoring or assisting in each of his appearances for the club.
That was before he fractured his metatarsal against Bournemouth, ruling him out for a minimum of 12 weeks. As expected, Guardiola restored Aguero to the Manchester City starting XI in the absence of Jesus and the Argentine sensation hasn’t looked back ever since.
Aguero has scored 7 goals in 7 appearances ever since his return to the starting XI and looks a man revitalized. He looks hungrier, greedier and more determined than ever before.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that Pep Guardiola’s “tough love” for Sergio Aguero has made the Argentine a better player. “He’s basically said to one of the best players at Manchester City: ‘The way you’ve played in the last two or three years is not god enough for me,” said Carragher. “He’s taken a chance and pushed him. He’s told him that this is what you’ve got to do to be a Pep Guardiola.
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“He’s basically said to one of the best players at Manchester City: ‘The way you’ve played in the last two or three years is not god enough for me,” said Carragher. “He’s taken a chance and pushed him. He’s told him that this is what you’ve got to do to be a Pep Guardiola centre forward, otherwise you’ll probably move on.”
And this may be good news for Argentina.
Recklessness in front of goal is something which has caused maximum heartache for Argentina over the past 3 years. Unforgivable misses by Higuain, Aguero and some of the other Argentine strikers in 3 major finals – World Cup 2014, Copa America 2015 & Copa America Centenario 2016 – cost Argentina major international silverware.
Although Higuain is ahead of Aguero in Bauza’s (Argentina Head Coach) pecking order, the Manchester City man is expected to play a major role in securing Argentina’s place in next year’s World Cup.
While Aguero did miss crucial chances against Liverpool and Monaco last week, his reaction thereafter suggests that the Argentine may have finally re-discovered his ruthless streak.
And that certainly can’t harm Argentina’s chances of winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup.