When Sergio Aguero thundered the ball past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guiata to break the deadlock at Selhurst Park, it was his second goal in three Premier League starts. Before that, he had failed to score in the top flight since January 2020.
A quick-fire follow-up from Ferran Torres put the game beyond Roy Hodgson’s men to clinch a 2-0 victory, and take City within three points of the title, but this was Aguero’s moment. His first goal past the Eagles on what is likely his final appearance against them.
His goal tally for Manchester City his now 258, the highest in the club’s history.
This man of the match performance was a throwback to the 'Kun' Aguero that joined the Citizens back in 2011. Was it also a glimpse into what Barcelona, the 4/7 favourites to sign him, could be getting for 2021/22?
Odds correct at 16:00 BST (01/05/2021)
For much of this season, with Pep Guardiola’s side having already clinched the Carabao Cup and taken a big step towards the Champions League final, Aguero has been forced into the back seat.
His role has diminished, and with it City's style and formation has adapted. It came as no shock when the club announced in March that this would be the 32-year-old's final season at the club.
The last remaining member of Manchester City “legends”, the band of players who brought so much success to the club over the last decade, it feels fitting that after almost 18 months of such limited impact, Aguero seems determined to go out with some kind of bang.
"He is an absolutely top, legend, extraordinary player behaving as the most humble and nicest human being and it is not easy to find that," said Guardiola after City's win at Palace.
“That’s why I love him as a man, another player in his situation and what he has done could create conflict and a difficult situation.
“When one guy is beloved like he is for all our fans, it is not just for scoring a thousand million goals. It is because he is something that the people realise, that you cannot hide away as a person.
“This season we took a decision, a difficult one, one of the toughest ones I took especially because he was injured for a long time and this club next season needs to make another step to maintain this level for a longer time.
“But what he has done in this club will remain forever and we want to finish the best way possible.
“And he is going to help us in the Champions League and going to help us in the Premier League to finish it. It is not easy to find a player like him with these numbers and achievements being like he is as a human being.”
David Silva left City at the end of last season, circumstances depriving him of the kind of send-off he deserved, following in the footsteps of Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany - the other members of the exclusive legends club Aguero is undoubtedly a founding partner of.
Aguero is now just a handful of weeks from joining them in pastures new, and his impact against Palace means there will surely be a fierce battle to sign him.
Barcelona top the betting as his likely next destination, but there has been talk of him remaining in England and possibly joining one of City’s rivals, too. Chelsea are the favourites in that respect, currently priced up at 3/1 to make Aguero their new centre-forward.
There is no way City would be willing to sell to a direct title-rival, particularly one improving as rapidly as Chelsea, but with their all-time leading scorer out of contract they have no control over the situation.
The Blues are short of an out-and-out number nine, so would it really be a shock if Thomas Tuchel and co moved for him?
A return to Atletico Madrid is next in the betting at 12/1, though Diego Simeone’s side do have Luis Suarez among their ranks, so the need for Aguero would be questionable, while Any MLS Club is available at 14/1.
A much more interesting angle than the generic big teams on offer to secure Aguero's signature though, is the 14/1 available about the striker to sign for Any Argentinian Primera Division Club.
In 2019, Aguero gave an interview in which he made clear his desire to return to his boyhood club Independiente when he left Manchester City. He forecast that he would move on from City at the age of 31, and he wasn't far wrong, one year out to be exact.
Many would see this as Aguero taking early retirement, as he clearly has plenty more to give, whether that be in the Premier League or in one of Europe's other top divisions.
For Aguero though, Independiente is the club he grew up supporting, they are the club that he made his breakthrough at, scoring 23 goals in 54 appearances before he was snatched up by Atletico Madrid.
Independiente have not won the Argentinian top flight since 2002, the season before Aguero broke into the first team. What a way to end his career then, back at the club where it all started, to help them towards a first championship for 20 years.
As Aguero left the pitch at Selhurst Park, collecting his man of the match trophy on the way, you would be forgiven for assuming that his career is all but over, certainly from the way the pundits on BT Sport were speaking about him.
Sure, plenty of people are happy that Aguero has regained his scoring touch so close to the end of his time at City, but this is certainly not the end of "Kun".
With Barcelona odds-on to sign him, could he even come back to haunt the club who have commissioned the building of a statue in his honour when, as fate is such, they inevitability meet in the Champions League?
But if we're looking for another AGUEROOOOO!!! moment, then where better than at his boyhood club.
That 14/1 looks a big price now. But maybe I'm just getting soft...
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