Who can forget the scenes on the pitch at the end of Manchester City’s Premier League title celebrations in 2021?
City’s 5-0 trouncing of Everton on the final day of the season at the Etihad Stadium concluded a draining year for football which saw games in the second half of the season played out in front of no crowds due to Covid-19 regulations.
But it also signalled the end of Sergio Aguero’s illustrious career at the club after the champions opted not to extend his contract for the 2021/22 season.
Aguero has cult hero status around those parts of Manchester after winning 15 major trophies, including five league titles during his decade-long spell with the club.
He is most fondly remembered, however, for scoring that goal in the dying seconds against QPR in 2012 to hand City their first-ever Premier League title. In total, Aguero scored 260 goals in 390 games, making him the club’s highest-ever goalscorer in their history.
It is easy to see why, then, some fans may have been emotional about seeing the Argentinian striker, who has a statue in his honour outside the Etihad Stadium, depart. But few expected to see manager Pep Guardiola get quite as emotional as he did on the pitch following Aguero’s final match.
“We cannot replace him, we cannot,” said a visibly emotional Guardiola, who is so often the personification of cool, calm and collected.
But the early form of Erling Haaland since joining the club this summer from Borussia Dortmund may be causing the legendary manager to rethink his claims regarding Aguero’s successor.
The Norwegian striker, fuelled by his dad’s lasagne, has already scored 19 goals in 12 matches for City with many thinking he could go on to break all sorts of goal records for both the club and in the Premier League.
Guardiola’s words have not been lost on some cynical fans who have been quick to point the finger at the Spaniard for ‘the greatest lie ever told’.
“Still cannot believe that bald man was crying on live TV saying ‘we cannot replace him’ just to get Haaland to terrorise us even more. He deserves an Oscar,” wrote one person.
Another added: “Apparently Guardiola was crying for other teams here. He knew he was going to cook them with Aguero’s replacement.”
Surely we can cut one of the greatest managers of this generation some slack for one emotionally-fuelled comment? After all, he does have four Premier League titles sitting at home on his mantelpiece.
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