Sergio Agüero will walk away from Manchester City in the summer with golden memories and an “indestructible bond” with the club’s supporters.
The Argentina international, who will be 33 in June, will not have his contract renewed as both parties look to the future. Agüero is City’s record scorer with 257 goals in 384 appearances since arriving from Atlético Madrid in the summer of 2011 and is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history.
He will forever be remembered for that magical moment in the final match of the 2011-12 season, when he struck the winner in stoppage time against Queens Park Rangers to secure the club’s first English title in 44 years. Agüero is to be honoured with a statue at the Etihad Stadium, alongside the former captain Vincent Kompany and David Silva.
Announcing his departure, the striker was keen to emphasise his bond with the City fans after a 10-year stay at the club. He wrote on Twitter: “Ten seasons with major achievements, throughout which I was able to become the top historic goalscorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love this club – people who will always be in my heart.”
Agüero has struggled with injuries since having knee surgery in the close season, with a hamstring problem punctuating his comeback. He also was forced to sit out a month after a Covid-19 infection in January. His injury record will have played a part in the contractual decision but the forward believes he still has plenty to offer.
“A new stage with new challenges will begin and I am fully ready to face them with the same passion and professionalism that I have always dedicated to continue competing at the highest level,” he added.
The prolific Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Braut Haaland has already been heavily linked with a summer move to City.
In the decade since arriving from Atlético for £38m, Agüero has made an indelible mark at the club. His winner against QPR stands alone in its significance but there were other major milestones. His goal in a 4-2 Champions League win at Napoli in 2017 meant he broke Eric Brook’s 78-year club scoring record and a hat-trick against Aston Villa last year took him past Alan Shearer for the most Premier League trebles (12).
Aguëro has won four Premier League titles – with a fifth looking secure in what will be his final season.
“Sergio’s contribution to Manchester City over the last 10 years cannot be overstated,” said the City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak. “His legend will be indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who loves the club and maybe even in those who simply love football.
“This is not yet the moment for farewell words and speeches. There is still much to achieve in the remainder of the time we have with Sergio, and we look forward to his contributions to the challenges which lay ahead.
“In the meantime, it gives me great pleasure to announce that we will be commissioning an artist to create a statue of Sergio to live at the Etihad Stadium alongside the ones under construction for Vincent and David. And we look forward to the opportunity to bid Sergio a fitting farewell at the end of the season.”
City are working on plans to mark his departure at the final home game of the season against Everton and they remain hopeful thousands of supporters will be permitted to attend the Etihad when lockdown measures could be eased further. That would ensure Agüero, the last remaining player of the club’s first Premier League title-winning side, will receive what will undoubtedly be an emotional send-off for a player who touched so many fans’ hearts.