Sergio Aguero did in two seasons what Fernando Torres failed to do in six. Aguero came close to doing in two seasons what Torres couldn't do in five. While Torres thought that the best way to enhance his career was to make a move away from the Calderon, Aguero thought that the best way to enhance his career was to make a move to the Calderon.
Fernando Torres might have been and still be the blue-eyed boy of Atletico Madrid but Torres could never lead them to the Champions League, described by one columnist as Atletico’s “Promised Land”. Hell, he could never score 20 goals in a league season and would often raise his tally (like Valencia’s David Villa) from penalties.
Aguero took just two seasons to sear Atleti back to Europe's top tier club competition and only in his second season at the Calderon scored 19 goals. In 2007-2008 it was the then 20-year-old who almost single-handedly dragged El Pupas to European Cup football after 11 heavily limping years away from the continent's elite, and although last season Aguero had a disappointing campaign by his own standards, 17 goals and 9 assists in the league and 3 strikes in the Champions League are not exactly stuff that would brand him a Class C striker.
Better Than Lionel Messi?
Diego Armando Maradona's son-in-law's stock has risen so much in the last two seasons that Premier League champions and European heavyweights Manchester United are (reportedly) seriously contemplating a bid for the player. Aguero, though, has persistently insisted that he is not thinking of leaving Atleti anytime soon, but as many Atletico fans dread, just like El Nino, El Kun too could be forced to leave the Calderon to ‘enhance his career’.
And just like Fernando Torres, Aguero has no shortage of admirers. In Spain both FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with the player, with Aguero himself admitting that he would like to play with Lionel Messi at some point in his club career; both the Milan sides - Inter and AC- are keen admirers of the prodigious talent and in England Chelsea and Manchester United would require no second invitation to sign perhaps the most talented 21-year-old striker in the world.
Sergio Aguero is a player whom Jorge Valdano would like to describe as 'culo bajo', stocky or low-arsed. One columnist enthused that Aguero is "a talent that could surpass Messi's if only because the new kid on the block is a better finisher" while there is a universal belief - or at least among those who bother to watch the second most entertaining side in Europe week in week out, a side that once ended a game 6-3 and that score goals at canter and concede them with equal ease- that Aguero is the closest thing to a Romario, with his sudden shaking off players in the opposition penalty area and taking the shot without seemingly even interested to do so.
Young And Ambitious
At 21 Sergio Aguero is discernibly young and ambitious and would love to win anything and everything; and at Atletico chances of doing that are slim. With Barcelona asserting themselves as the best team in Europe and Real Madrid making expensive summer signings to usurp the throne, La Liga is now going to be a battle between the old duo. Although Atleti do have the unpredictability to make it through in the European Cup, their defensive frailties are all too obvious.
Aguero's technical ability, unalloyed talent, burst of speed, keen eye for goal, physical strength and mobility would see him succeed in any league he plays and for whichever club, if given the right service from the midfield and played to his strengths. Which is why the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in getting the prized signature of El Kun.
Achieving Maradona-esque Greatness
Yet, the reasons for Aguero not leaving Atleti are apparent. This is a World Cup year and Aguero is already well settled at the Calderon. Moving to a new league or even a new club in Spain would imply adapting and fighting for a place in the starting xi, which the 21-year-old does not have to do at Atletico. Moreover, at Atletico Aguero doesn’t confront the same pressure he would have to face elsewhere; at Man United, Barcelona or Inter Milan, the pressure to win all the time can be dreadfully submersing but at Atletico a top four finish in the league is a marvel.
Then there's the Atleti fans, who worship him and have embraced him as their Messiah.
But perhaps most importantly there's the Maradona syndrome. El Diego might be an all-time favourite of Boca Juniors and Barcelona but his best years were at Napoli, whom he single-handedly revived and seared to glory. At Barcelona Maradona might have entertained the crowd and done all his tricks but in two years at Camp Nou he didn’t win anything major. It was at Napoli and in a more tactical and at the time more difficult league (Serie A) that Maradona became what he is, at least in club football.
Aguero has long been 'cursed' with the New Maradona label but if indeed he wants to displace El Diego as arguably the greatest player in football history, he would find no better place than Atletico, a club that hasn't won the league since 1996, a club that almost desperately but helplessly want to win it. If Aguero can lead Atletico to a title triumph against the odds, then he would become the Spanish club's very own Maradona.
Playing among the best at Man United, Inter or maybe even Barcelona would win Aguero trophies but the 'greatest of greatness' lies in winning trophies for a club that cannot do so.
And Atletico, at least at the moment, cannot win any trophies. Except the Copa del Rey. Perhaps.