Aguero hopeful the Maradona magic can rub off on him

 

The evidence of what it means to be a folk hero in a sky-blue city starved of success ought to be well known to Sergio Aguero after his four months in Manchester, though the frayed images of Diego Maradona which you will still find on walls and lamp posts in this city tell of a different type of worship.

Maradona was not here to receive his son-in-law Aguero last night. He is in Buenos Aires mourning the death of his mother, Dona Tota, though it doesn't take his presence to know what he achieved here. The ghosts of those late 1980s days still stalk the frayed, decaying Stadio San Paolo and the talk of them is still fresh enough for Aguero to aspire to something similar in east Manchester.

"It's definitely my dream, to do what Maradona did for Napoli," he said last night. "He did not tell me how to play this game but in the past he told me everything about Napoli and I saw on TV all he did for Napoli; how important hewas for the fans."

Amid the flashbulbs and frenzy of this appearance, Aguero's every word needing translated into Italian and English, it was not an opportunity for revelations. It had been in the seclusion of Carrington, long before leaving for Italy, that the 23-year-old had  reflected more fully on Manchester City's attempts to progress to a place among Europe's elite last 16 and declared that the best of that number were "still just a football team" who could ultimately be overcome.

Few can say they have beaten Barcelona several times over – as Aguero's Atletico Madrid have done at Estadio Vicente Calderon – and then predict something similar in the future. That's the steel you carry when you've escaped Quilmes, the shanty town of 60,000 near Buenos Aires.

"Barcelona are above everyone else because they've proved this over the last four years," Aguero said. "But they are still just a football team. They can't stay dominant for ever, other teams have the potential to overtake them." Dethroning Lionel Messi as a future winner of the Ballon d'Or is another aim.

For now, though, tonight is a significant 90 minutes on this particular skyblue journey. "I will not be nervous, I will enjoy playing on this pitch," Aguero said. "Maradona did very well here and I will just think of him doing the same."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test