Man City 3-1 Porto: Sergio Aguero reaches 40 goals but can he be considered a Champions League big?

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How it started: Aguero (r) celebrates with Luis Garcia after scoring his first Champions League goal, which came for Atletico Madrid against PSV in September 2008 when he was 20

Another game for Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, another milestone to celebrate.

When the 32-year-old Argentina striker found the goal with a penalty kick in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Porto, it was for his 40th Champions League goal, with all but five for his current club.

Aguero joins an elite roster of snipers, becoming only the 14th player to reach this benchmark since the competition was rebadged in 1992.

How it goes: Aguero scores City’s equalizer from penalty against Porto on Wednesday night

He has now scored a total of 255 goals in 372 games for City, extending his club scoring record.

But, while his phenomenal run cannot be questioned, his wider impact on the Champions League is a little less convincing when you compare him to the company he maintains at the top of his charts – all but two players. won it. at least one time.

Player / Rank Games Buts Games taken at 40 (rank)
1. Cristiano Ronaldo 170 130 82 (11)
2. Lionel Messi 144 116 61 (= 2)
3. Raul 142 71 75 (9)
4. Robert Lewandowski 91 68 61 (= 2)
5. Karim Benzema 121 65 67 (4)
6. Ruud van Nistelrooy 73 56 45 (1)
7. Thierry Henry 112 50 73 (8)
= 8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic 120 48 101 (14)
= 8. Andriy Shevchenko 100 48 72 (= 6)
= 10. Thomas muller 116 46 92 (13)
= 10. Filippo Inzaghi 81 46 69 (5)
12. Didier Drogba 92 44 79 (10)
13. Alessandro del Piero 89 42 83 (12)
14. Sergio Aguero 72 40 72 (= 6)

Great goal ratio – but why are they drying up?

Sergio Aguero celebrates his Champions League debut for Manchester City
Aguero joined City for £ 38million in July 2011 and was soon celebrating his first Champions League goal for the club – a 94th-minute winner against Villareal in October of the same year. His tally of 35 goals for City in the competition does not include the hat-trick he scored in the qualifying round against Steaua Bucharest in 2016

Aguero’s raw numbers are beyond doubt, starting with his consistency – since making his Champions League debut for Atletico Madrid in 2008 he has competed in 12 of the possible 13 seasons and has scored at least one times in each of them. with an overall record that is better than a goal every two games.

Along with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski, Aguero is one of only five players to score in each season between 2011-12 and 2019-20 – he and Messi are the only two to have already crossed the mark. this campaign.

In terms of time, Aguero is the sixth-fastest player to reach 40 goals when counting games played.

Its effectiveness can hardly be questioned either. Aguero moved from 14th to ninth place in the standings considering his goals per minute ratio, with one goal every 127 minutes.

This is hardly a surprise considering that at domestic level he is leading the way in this regard ahead of Alan Shearer and everyone else on the Premier League’s all-time roster, with one goal every 108. minutes.

Player / Rank Buts Minutes / goal
= 1. Mario Gomez 26 102
= 1. Lionel Messi 116 102
3. Harry Kane 20 104
4. Ruud van Nistelrooy 56 109
= 5. Robert Lewandowski 68 114
= 5. Cristiano Ronaldo 130 114
7. Filippo Inzaghi 46 119
8. Marco Simone 20 123
9. Sergio Aguero 40 127
10. Karim Benzema 65 130
Players with 20 or more goals in the Champions League

It’s only when you look at WHEN Aguero’s European goals arrived that its track record begins to falter.

Of his 40 goals, 30 have come in group matches and another eight in the last 16. He only managed one in the quarter-finals or later – against Tottenham in 2019 – a stat surely linked to City’s struggles to progress beyond that point.

Aguero rounds off his hat-trick with a 91st minute winner in a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in 2014
Aguero’s best Champions League moment so far? He scored an added time winner to complete his hat-trick in a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in 2014

It’s not just the case that Aguero’s frequent injury issues have denied him the opportunity to add to his tally in the later stages – since 2016, City have made nine appearances in four quarter-finals and a half. final, and he only missed two of them.

But he’s played in far fewer of those games than most other names for hitting the 40-goal mark.

And, for some reason, when he got there he was simply less efficient than usual at a time when his team arguably needed him the most, with his goals-to-minutes ratio dropping to a low. every 543 minutes during the last eight matches.

Player / Rank Games played Buts Minutes played Minutes per goal
1. Cristiano Ronaldo 49 42 4 508 107
2. Lionel Messi 41 20 3 552 178
= 3. Filippo Inzaghi 23 13 1 702 131
= 3. Andriy Shevchenko 26 13 2 253 173
= 3. Raul 31 13 2 751 212
6. Robert Lewandowski 22 12 1 878 157
= 7. Didier drogba 25 11 2 173 198
= 7. Thomas muller 36 11 2 698 245
= 9. Alessandro Del Piero 18 8 1 543 193
= 9. Karim Benzema 28 8 1 854 232
= 11. Ruud van Nistelrooy 6 4 522 131
= 11. Thierry Henry 21 4 1 492 373
= 11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic 17 4 1 423 356
14. Sergio Aguero 7 1 543 543

Is this Aguero’s last chance?

Man City's starting XI in their first Champions League game in club history, a 1-1 draw against Napoli in September 2011. Back LR Hart, Kompany, Touré, Barry, Lescott, Dzeko.  First row: Silva, Zabaleta, Nasri, Aguero, Kolarov
Aguero is the last survivor of the squad that faced Napoli in City’s Champions League opener in September 2011. He played 58 of City’s 78 appearances in the competition, scoring 35 goals. It’s the 10th consecutive season they’ve qualified, and their best run to date came in 2015-16 when they reached the semi-finals.

City’s failure to win the Champions League or even reach a final isn’t Aguero’s fault, of course, but it does mean that, like his club, he currently has a glaring omission on his CV otherwise illustrated.

For now, it feels like a defining moment is missing in Europe to match his famous strike against QPR which earned him the first of his four domestic league titles with City in 2012.

His biggest contribution for City in the Champions League so far is likely their treble in the group stage in a spectacular comeback against Bayern Munich in 2014, rather than one of their nine goals from the last 16.

That’s still enough to make him the 21st joint top scorer in knockout goals, but they either had disappointing losses to Barcelona, ​​Monaco (two goals) and Spurs, or what should be seen as wins less. that memorable. Dynamo Kiev, Basel and Schalke (three goals).

It sounds like a somewhat underwhelming showreel for a player of her abilities and while there is still time for Aguero to correct that and create a more meaningful European legacy with an iconic night of her own, maybe she runs out.

He is without a contract next summer and this season could be his last chance to solidify his status as a true Champions League legend.

One way to do that would be to finally get their hands on the famous trophy, but can he help City advance to the final in Istanbul by maintaining their score rate this time around?

Sergio Aguero takes over in his side's Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid in 2016
Of the 13 players with more CL goals than Aguero, 11 have won the tournament at least once. The other two are Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Ibrahimovic has played in the competition for seven different clubs, making a semi-final with Barcelona and reaching the quarter-finals eight times with Ajax, Juventus and AC Milan. Van Nistelrooy, meanwhile, was the tournament’s top scorer in three different seasons, but only managed a semi-final and quarter-final, both with Manchester United.

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