Aguero and the Naples connection

November 22 will be a special day in the Sergio Aguero household - even if the Manchester City striker is reluctant to acknowledge it.

Football News: Diego Maradona
Marcus Chhan

By Marcus Chhan

The last few years have seen the Argentinean fight to distance himself from comparisons to his compatriot - the legendary Diego Maradona. These associations with the great man - which Aguero himself has labelled as embarrassing - only grew stronger when he started dating Maradona's daughter Giannina in 2008.

Aguero has since married and started a family with El Diego's daughter and when Manchester City travels to Naples in the UEFA Champions League, you can expect the volume at Stadio San Paolo to be raised as soon as the crowd get their first sighting of Aguero.

Maradona is considered 'God' in Naples and his son-in-law Aguero will surely be afforded the proper respect despite him lining up for the visiting Man City team. Napoli have been drawn in Group A along with City, Bayern Munich and Villarreal.

To understand exactly why the Partenopei bond with Maradona is so strong, you only need to search out some of his performances for the club on YouTube. Really, just sit back and watch because it is one of the special moments in football seeing Maradona play at the peak of his craft. If you're a person who prefers the facts in black and white then you'll like this: Maradona led Napoli to two Serie A titles, the Italian Cup and the UEFA Cup in a six year spell of success in the late 80s which the club has never been able to replicate since.


Napoli and the Maradona effect

Milan's Marcel Desailly celebrates a comprehensive performance

• Around 80,000 football mad Neapolitans went to watch Napoli beat Juventus 2-1 in the first game at the Stadio San Paolo in 1959.
• Diego Maradona was brought to Napoli by club president Corrado Ferlaino in June 1984 from Barcelona.
• Napoli became the first southern side to win the Serie A after they claimed a domestic double in 1987.
• Diego Maradona still holds the club's goalscoring record after netting 115 times for the Partenopei.


On the flip side, Aguero has just started his career with Manchester City. It's a club that went 35-years without a trophy before last season's FA Cup success. Like Maradona had at Napoli, Aguero has the chance to create a notable imprint in the history of European football.

This is not to suggest for a minute that Aguero is going to become as legendary as Maradona solely based on the fact that he's an Argentinean footballer who happens to have married into the Maradona family. But, it has all the makings of a great story and the similarities between the two make comparisons understandable.

It is true that just about very Argentinean striker who shows some promise can't avoid being tagged as ‘the next Diego Maradona' but Aguero stands out from the rest in some peculiar ways.

For one, Maradona and Aguero share a similar approach to the game. Both love to dribble and like to quicken the tempo of the game through their superb abilities on the ball. Both men love to invent and take risks in the attacking third of the pitch to make things happen for their team, and when things are not going their way the pair have shown in the past that they share a similarly short fuse.

Maradona and Aguero also appear to react to disappointment in the same way. When Maradona was not included in the squad for the 1978 World Cup because he was considered too young, he answered his critics by leading Argentina to victory in the Under-20 World Cup. Aguero did the same thing when he was not selected by Argentina for 2006 World Cup in Germany.


They call him Kun

• Aguero grew up in Quilmes, a poor suburb in Buenos Aires.
• He is the second oldest of seven siblings.
• Aguero got his nickname Kun after his love for a Japanese cartoon called The Adventures of Kum Kum.
• Independiente signed Aguero up when he was eight years old.
• Aguero became the youngest player to appear in the Argentinian First Division with Independiente aged just 15 years and 35 days which broke the previous record held by Diego Maradona.


Of course, Aguero is surrounded by world class players at Manchester City which means his future achievements at the club will always be looked upon with a touch of cynicism. In contrast, Maradona's greatest achievements at club level came with a team located in a deprived area of southern Italy.

 

But then, times have changed. In a world where money talks loudest, we're unlikely to see another Maradona-like messiah taking a resource-strapped team to glory. If Aguero does continue like he has begun at City though, comparisons with his father-in-law might begin to sound a lot more plausible.



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