Champions League

Scrutinised Aguero still following Messi's lead

2016-10-31 10:51
Lionel Messi (Getty)

Manchester - There is nothing between Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi off the pitch, but in the Champions League, the Manchester City striker continues to walk in the Barcelona superstar's shadow.

Aguero was dropped for City's game at Barcelona on October 19 and by the time he came on, as a 79th-minute substitute, Messi had set his side en route to a 4-0 win with his 37th career hat-trick.

Aguero is expected to start when Barcelona visit the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, having scored twice in Saturday's 4-0 win at West Bromwich Albion, but manager Pep Guardiola remains on his case.

"He is part of the history of this club and will be forever, but I would like to help him," said Guardiola, who enjoyed stunning success with Messi at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012.

"He can still write the most brilliant pages in his career in this club. He's one of the best, absolutely. But I want to help him be much, much better."

While Guardiola is thought to harbour reservations about Aguero's work-rate and overall contribution, he believes that "in the box" at least, he is on the same level as Messi.

Aguero and Messi have been close friends since they met while playing for Argentina at the 2005 Under-20 World Cup in the Netherlands.

Aguero, then playing for Independiente in his homeland, astonished his team-mates by asking Messi who he was, having not recognised the burgeoning star of the Barcelona youth team.

But they ended up rooming together and have been international room-mates ever since, Messi penning the foreword to Aguero's 2014 autobiography.

Aguero is a year Messi's junior, but in football terms he was more precocious, making his Independiente debut aged just 15.

The pair began to cross swords regularly after Aguero joined Atletico Madrid in 2006 and might even have ended up playing in the same team.

Former Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta revealed earlier this year that prior to signing Luis Suarez from Liverpool in 2014, the club's number-one target had been Aguero.

Aguero joined City in 2011 and entered club folklore in his first season by scoring the 94th-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers on the season's final day that gave Roberto Mancini's men the title.

He has won four major honours at the Etihad and his brace at West Brom took him to 149 goals in the club's colours, lifting him past City great Francis Lee.

Though frequently injured, Aguero has the best minutes-to-goals ratio in the Premier League era and former England striker Alan Shearer believes he is "the one genuine world-class player" in the division.

But although Aguero is City's leading scorer in European competition, unlike Messi he has yet to leave an indelible mark on Europe's elite tournament.

Just two of his 23 Champions League goals have been scored in the knockout phase and he has never gone further than the semi-finals.

Aguero has hinted that he was sceptical about the hype surrounding Guardiola, telling Argentine radio that he asked Messi if the Catalan would show him "how to kick the ball better".

But if Aguero is to scale the same heights as his international room-mate, it is likely to be in his interests to keep Guardiola onside.

Guardiola, a two-time Champions League-winner as a coach, has not always seen eye-to-eye with big-name strikers, as Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic can testify.

In axing Joe Hart and Yaya Toure, meanwhile, he has demonstrated that he will not show undue deference to status at City.

While Aguero has scored 13 goals in 13 games this season, Guardiola has regularly exhorted him to "do more", and there are signs that the penny may have dropped.

According to the BBC, the 28-year-old covered 10.2 kilometres against West Brom, which represented a huge leap from last season's average of 7.8km.

He may run Messi down yet.

Read more on:    lionel messi  |  sergio aguero  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.