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‘Kun’ Agüero the record-breaking silent assassin

‘Kun’ Agüero the record-breaking silent assassin

FOOTBALL: As the Liverpool juggernaut rolls on relentlessly, Manchester City may have all but given up the ghost in the chase to retain their Premier League crown but that hasn’t stopped star forward Sergio Agüero from setting records.

By Ben Tirebuck

Saturday 18 January 2020, 09:00AM

Are you all listening? Quiet man Agüero has certainly made himself heard in the Premier League. Photo: AFP

Are you all listening? Quiet man Agüero has certainly made himself heard in the Premier League. Photo: AFP

Not only did the Argentinian’s hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa last Sunday (Jan 12) set a new record for most trebles scored in the Premier League but his haul also positioned him as the most prolific overseas marksman in the competition’s history.

Agüero’s latest scoring spree took him two clear of Thierry Henry on 177 and eclipsed Alan Shearer’s record of 11 hat-tricks.

“I’m very happy to be breaking records,” he told The Guardian.

“I’m aware it’s not easy to score 12 hat-tricks in the Premier League, as it is such a difficult competition. I’m very proud and very happy for it.

“After this, I want to keep going and keep scoring more goals, but the most important for me is that the team keeps winning and winning,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen from now until the end of the season, but it’s a moment to enjoy.”

Public enigma

Despite his record breaking exploits, not much is actually known of Agüero, certainly away from the pitch – a somewhat surprising fact given the information hungry, voyeuristic age of social media we inhabit today. Agüero very much stands as the silent assassin of the game, letting his feet do the talking.

In Premier League circles he is arguably best known for scoring the dramatic injury time winner during the final game of his debut season in 2011/12 that won Manchester City their first Premier League title – we are all more than familiar with the “Agüeroooooo” howl from TV commentator Martin Tyler, something that has all but found it’s way into our modern day lexicon.

Agüero is not one to air his private affairs publicly and does not court controversy off the field. Indeed the most news worthy incident he has been involved in away from the pitch in recent years was a car crash in Amsterdam in 2017 following a concert he attended. To the chagrin of doom-mongers he wasn’t intoxicated, he was not driving, it wasn’t even his car. It was, reportedly, a taxi.

No controversy there.

Media shy

Agüero is famously media shy. He is reluctant to play the media game and rarely gives interviews or even quotes.

His comments after the record-breaking turn last weekend is the most many have ever heard from him, although that was somewhat inevitable and to be expected given the magnitude of the achievement.

The recent Amazon Prime fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘All or Nothing’ arguably offered viewers the most insightful glimpse into his off-pitch life yet, courtesy of a brief tour of his Manchester mansion and various football memorabilia.

We came a little closer to gaining a deeper understanding of the man and his life, sympathising no doubt when he disclosed he was almost always on his own, watching movies in his home cinema, his son from a previous marriage living back in Argentina and only visiting once a month.

However, for the majority of the series he tended to loiter in the background like an uncomfortable relative at a family wedding and never truly stepped forward into the spotlight.

Unlike many others, he is not one to bear his soul or personal details via a stream of Tweets or Instagram posts and, rightly so, very much recognises that any scrutiny his day job attracts it not automatically applicable to his personal life. He has created a barrier between Sergio Agüero the footballer and Sergio Agüero the man.

You might catch a Tweet from him about his team’s latest performance or achievement but it is highly unlikely you will ever read what he had for breakfast that morning or what luxury car he recently bought.

This has created a distance with his audience and fans, something critics argue negatively enhances the mystique around the man; his reluctance to present an accessible off-field persona has made it very challenging for people to get to know him, to be able to relate to him - and in a world of ever-increasing velocity saturated by voyeurism where brand and social media rules, this is, to many, problematic.

Brother Lionel

What we do know is Agüero goes by the nickname “Kun,” even having the name printed on his playing shirt. It was a name affectionately given to him during childhood by his grandfather after a Japanese cartoon character he resembled called “Kum-Kum” who liked to create trouble – something the youngster certainly carried onto the football pitch and to opposition teams in the years to follow.

He shares a close friendship with Lionel Messi, his regular roommate during outings for the national team since 2005. In his 2014 autobiography, ‘Born to Rise,’ which contains a foreword written by Messi himself, Agüero described his colleague as being “like a brother.”

His closest friends in England include club and international teammate Nicolas Otamendi and club rival David de Gea of Manchester United, with whom he played with at Atletico Madrid.

“We have a good friendship. But he plays at United and I play at City,” Agüero says.

Back in his homeland, aside from his exploits for the national team, he is known as the man who married Diego Maradona’s daughter Giannina - something akin to marrying into royalty given “El Diego’s” standing and popularity there.

What is clear is Agüero very much seems content to shun media hype and intrusion and instead be judged by his on-field performances and achievements.

He will "die scoring goals”

When Pep Guardiola took over at City many feared the worst for Agüero, claiming he would not fit into the master tactician’s style of play.

Agüero, however, proved his resilience by working harder than ever, adapting his game and making it near impossible for Guardiola to ignore him. “Irreplaceable” is how Pep has described him.

“It's an honour to be here the day he achieved that, hopefully he can score more. He will die scoring goals,” purred Guardiola after the Villa park hammering.

"Sergio is one of the best, no doubt. The best is Messi, but the rest? Sergio is absolutely one of them.

"All the players in the locker room congratulated him. To break this record of an incredible legend like Thierry Henry, it means it's not just for a short period, it's many years.

"To be the foreign player with the most goals and hat-tricks speaks for itself.

“There are players through the incredible history of English football and he is one of them, he helps to make the Premier League and English football better.”

Many agree and the numbers speak for themselves.

Crystal Palace had best beware later today (Jan 18) as they travel to the Etihad – he won’t be drawing attention or making any fuss but no doubt little “Kun” the quiet guy will be raring to go, ready to create more trouble and add to that impressive goal total.

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