You are looking for a bead of sweat on Sergio Aguero's brow, a slightly flushed face to link him back to what he just produced on the field and somehow preserve that moment a little longer. There is none. The traces of green scuffing on his football socks suggest that those might be genuine artefacts from this moment in football history, though it would be too obscure and nerdy to check this out with him.
So it's just Aguero, cool and calm in his crisp change of kit, and you are reminded of how ephemeral these extraordinary moments in sport really are. As Sir Alex Ferguson once said: "The greatest feeling, of joy or despair, comes when the referee blows his whistle. Then, to a large extent, it is gone..."
"That last goal?" Aguero says, of his injury-time goal to beat QPR 3-2 and win the Premier League title for Manchester City. "I wish I could tell you how I did it but I can't." The only mental image he retains of the seconds before his world exploded is the sight of Mario Balotelli shaping to blast the ball that would instead fall at his own feet.
"I thought for all the world that Mario was going to have a go himself but he just moved it on one more, if you like, and it fell at my feet and I just thought, 'Hit the target, hit it as hard as you can and hit the target.' And it went in!"
Balotelli's contribution showed why Roberto Mancini persists with him, though Aguero wants to talk about Edin Dzeko, not a player who has ever driven City through force of personality.
"I think we thought everything was lost," Aguero says. "Until Edin's goal went in we were almost running out of ideas towards the end and it was almost, 'I think that's it, guys.' But we got a real huge amount of enthusiasm with the goal from Edin going in and then I think we thought, 'Let's go for it. One last effort, two or three last efforts and we can maybe get something...'"
Explaining what has happened through superlatives is easier than describing it.
"For sure, yeah," he says, in answer to the question of whether the goal was his most important. "I think for now, certainly."
The world is pressing in on him. He is pretty sure his father-in-law Diego Maradona has been in touch, except he has not waded through the Blackberry he is holding to see. "I've got 33 messages so I'm sure one's from him!"
In the mayhem, he has not managed to keep the match ball. "I don't know where it ended up in the end but I've got my boots – I'll be keeping them and my shirt obviously. But I don't know where the ball is!" In short, a once-in-a lifetime moment is a memory already.
"You score the goal in the last minute to win the title," Aguero says. "You're not sure if that's ever going to happen in your career again."Reuse content