Manchester City and Amazon's access all areas documentary causing issues with Sky Sports
Amazon Prime signing a £10million minimum deal for a fly-on-the-wall Manchester City documentary series being filmed this season is causing major ructions in the Premier League.
The opposition is led by Sky Sports, who have given the go-ahead to the controversial Amazon project having a camera presence on match days but are far from happy about it.
They are very annoyed that City should have signed such a deal for widespread access behind the scenes at the Etihad Stadium when Sky are paying billions for live match coverage which is subject to numerous filming restrictions.
And there is also bewilderment that the Premier League should have let Amazon in so near the start of the next TV rights tender. Sky and BT Sport, who are also unimpressed, will be expected to bankroll the PL for another three years.
Other leading clubs feel City have ridden roughshod through the PL's media regulations with their Amazon deal.
They blame City's ex-Barcelona chief executive Ferran Soriano not being at all bothered about PL collectivity issues.
The PL say they are aware of the disquiet but that City have not broken any media rules. City say they are complying with the PL and that the Amazon series will attract a different demographic.
Chelsea's commercial director Chris Townsend is adopting a similar strategy to that which he used in the same role for the 2012 London Olympics organising committee to bring in £750million of sponsorship.
He is looking to double Chelsea's revenue over the next seven years by signing a collection of global partners. London 2012's first partnership signing was a high street bank and it's possible that will be the same with Chelsea. A new app will be launched next year to trigger what is hoped will be a huge increase in Chelsea's social media following.OLD SKOOL ADVATARS & BANNERS
Dani Alves hails 'new Ronaldo', Gabriel Jesus, as one of world's best players
If Marcus Rashford truly hopes to become the “new Ronaldo”, then his first task may have to be wrestling the title away from another 20-year-old striker who plys his trade in Manchester.
For as much as Rashford takes inspiration from Ronaldo’s goals, as he revealed earlier this week, the expectation of emulating the Brazilian great has also fallen to Gabriel Jesus.
The Manchester City striker, who will start in attack for Brazil at Wembley tonight, has been heralded as Ronaldo reborn by none other than Dani Alves, his international team-mate and a man well versed in footballing greatness.
“For all that he has done, all that he has achieved, there is no pressure,” said Alves, who now makes up a strong Brazilian contingent at Paris Saint-Germain after eight years with Barcelona and a spell at Juventus.
“He is doing what he loves. I was not joking when I called him the new Ronaldo. I still think the same. They have a similar drive. He is going to be one of the great players in football. He is already one of the best in the world.”
In 12 games for Brazil, Jesus has already claimed seven goals and four assists. Despite his age, the former Palmeiras striker is fast becoming a crucial cog in a Brazilian machine that is finally running smoothly, under manager Tite, after years of spluttering disappointment.
Much like he does for Pep Guardiola’s City, where Jesus has never lost a game, the 20-year-old provides both clinical finishing and the platform for the other attacking stars to thrive. He has formed a frighteningly efficient partnership with Neymar, who operates on the left of Brazil’s attack, and will also link up with Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho this evening.
“City should be very pleased with Palmeiras and the coaches there who formed a player who is already at such a good level,” said Tite. “He came here [to England] with a natural fluency, the mental capacity he has and his technical ability. He did not need much time to adapt. He was already showing a good level.”
England, of course, have their own talismanic striker to call upon, even if Harry Kane has been ruled out of tonight’s friendly through injury. Asked about England’s prospects at next year’s World Cup, Tite cited Kane as a primary reason for Gareth Southgate’s side being “one of the favourites” for the tournament.
“Kane is a penalty box player with an impressive finishing ability,” said Tite. “He is good in the air, good with his right foot and left. It’s very impressive - he has a lot of quality.
“The characteristics of Jesus and Kane are a bit different. Gabriel attacks the space and gives us that depth. Kane is more positional. They are two strong strikers.
“All the big teams, like England, have this new generation coming through. Even though Southgate has only had 13 games so far, they have Dele Alli, Kane and the experience of Gary Cahill.
“They have got tradition which carries weight, so I see England as one of the favourites. And I am not just saying that because I am here at Wembley speaking in front of English people.”
Under the management of Tite, who described himself as “super, super happy” to be managing his country, Brazil sauntered through World Cup qualification, claiming 32 points from an available 36.
In the 16 matches since he took over from the sacked Dunga, Brazil have scored 38 goals and conceded only five. They will tonight be captained by Alves, who said it was “very special to play at a temple of football like Wembley.”
In recent days, though, attention has swung away from Brazilian brilliance and towards Neymar, the world's most expensive player, who broke down in tears during a press conference over reports that he has strained relations with PSG coach Unai Emery.
“He is an extraordinary player in two ways: he is a goalscorer and a player who makes goals,” said Tite of Neymar. “He is authentic and human.”Guardiola’s Man City are squishing Mourinho’s Man Utd into the dirt and it’s not all to do with money
‘Poor’ Portuguese has lost the war and run out of excuses, but United fans still can’t see it
IT is incontestable that the gap between Manchester City and Manchester United at present is far greater than the eight points detailed on a Premier League table.
Unless you named your first born ‘Eric’ and have spent the past three months with your eyes squeezed shut while loudly ‘la-la-la’-ing to drown out the hard truths, it is abundantly clear that the war is being won and being won in some style.
Using Guardiola’s intricate roadmap City are reimagining English football, bamboozling opponents great and poor into sorry submission with an aesthetically thrilling brand of pinball wizardry.
Using Mourinho’s well-thumbed manual, United are flat-track bullying inferior fare while sucking the very life out of games the moment anyone half decent comes along.
One side is striving for the stars in order to light them further; the other skulks through bushes hoping to navigate their way to the finish line largely undetected.
As far as the generals are concerned the much heralded ‘Pep v Jose’ epic has swiftly become a horrible mismatch. Which is why one of them has recently begun unfurling a white flag and planning an individual retreat to Paris. Which is why he will soon enough start howling weekly at imagined injustices designed to detract from his own failings. Nobody will fall for any of it.
Or perhaps some will, because if the once special one has at least the wherewithal to privately acknowledge that the game is up there are plenty of Reds who stubbornly reside in denial. God love them for that. Seriously. When Dylan Thomas wrote ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ he did so with his sick father in mind but really in modern times it relays perfectly to supporters who should never, ever openly admit that their rivals are significantly better than they are. Instead, dispensing with irrefutable logic, Reds rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Their raging ignores all that has transpired since mid-August; it ignores how Pep has constructed a team of brio and invention and through obsessive alchemy got them breaking records for fun and changing perceptions as to what is humanly possible on 70m x 100m of grass. It ignores Mourinho’s targeting of players to fit into his archaic form of powerball, a remit of the athletic over aesthetic worsened by the employment of nullifying tactics that sends our souls to sleep.
Instead there is apparently a solitary reason why Guardiola’s City are squishing Mourinho’s United into the dirt: ladies and gentleman I give you the root of all evil and the root of all easy answers – money.
Since both men arrived in Manchester to resume a rivalry born in Spain they have each been lavished with cash to furnish their squad overhauls. Guardiola however has so far been given £90m more and according to the skewed rationale from certain prominent Reds on Twitter that would be sufficient – were it evened out – for United to lure Antoine Griezmann. Oh what poor deprived Jose could do with that ninety million.
That right there is their reasoning; the explanation as to why these neighbours are streets apart. Guardiola is nothing more than a chequebook manager while Mourinho has had to somehow cobble together a title-challenging squad by signing six new players for £308.9m and half a Twix.
It is of course pure and utter nonsense, not so much sour grapes than a resentful raisin. The addition of Griezmann to this United squad – under Mourinho at least – would be merely a sticking plaster placed on a rotting corpse while the very notion of United supporters complaining about being outspent is rich indeed.
Even so, if that’s all they have to come back with then so be it, let’s briefly inhabit their fantasy world they’re hiding in, safely insulated from cold realities, and play a game of hypotheticals.
In fact, let’s go one step further. Rather than envisage how much better United would be this term with yet another Galactico in their eleven, let’s instead afford Mourinho the keys to City’s golden kingdom. With all the exorbitant advantages supposedly given to a City coach – and the squad that it’s help accrue – would Mourinho be sitting eight points clear if he was scowling from the Etihad dug-out rather than at Old Trafford? Would the team still be a joy to watch with Jose no longer having to resort to eking by with his bargain-basement purchases?
Well firstly we have to assume that the recruitment would be very different had City lost their bearings in the summer of 2016 and over-looked the Spanish Grandmaster for the Portuguese Pouter. Based on empirical evidence we can surmise that ‘crybaby’ Kevin de Bruyne would have been drummed out of east Manchester instead of developing into one of the world’s most devastating conductors. Meanwhile, Mourinho’s need to isolate a star to show everyone what a ruthless b*****d he is would have resulted in Raheem Sterling being banished to the margins, his career forever stalled. This is a great shame of course because Sterling, under Pep, has flourished ten-fold. The spared Luke Shaw incidentally would now be an England starter.
As for the pivotal transfer window of 2016/17 we can bet our houses on Mourinho looking to add to his midfield options, bringing in a plethora of Carlton Palmer clones rather than secure the services of Leroy Sane. Gabriel Jesus meanwhile would have gone to the Bernabeu.
This hypothetical situation, however, is already taking us down a rabbit hole of supposition. Perhaps it would be better if we simply installed Mourinho into the City hot-seat in the here and now, blessed with a team in sensational form; blessed – in Red eyes – with the expensive tool-kit that Pep is fortunate enough to play with.
The back five, you feel, would remain the same, though Stones would regularly get a half-time rocket for daring to ignore his manager’s pre-match instructions to play long diagonals at every opportunity. Mourinho would talk Stones up in interviews but only to get him through the season until a replacement could be sourced.
With scant Matic/Herrera/Carrick types to bolster the middle ground Yaya Toure would be brought back into the fold, deployed alongside Fernandinho in a two-man shield. Ahead of them David Silva, De Bruyne and Sane may thrive, the latter regularly enduring public criticism from his new gaffer with De Bruyne always just 90 minutes away from receiving the same. As for the team’s attacking focal point Aguero would prowl until a more physical striker was purchased for close to one hundred million pounds next summer.
Regarding Gabriel Jesus – a forward of exhilarating promise who has so far bagged six goals in eight starts – he would undoubtedly begin each game on the bench, brought on only for the last knockings and distrusted for his youth. Raheem Sterling? Training with the kids as the sacrificial lamb.
If the line-ups don’t differ that much the philosophy and quality of the football certainly would. Away to Leicester this weekend Mourinho would negate the Foxes’ strength of getting in behind opponents by setting his side up with a low block. Sane and De Bruyne would be instructed to defend first and foremost with their attacking bent restricted only to counters and set-pieces. The ideal result would be 1-0. Failing that, 0-0. After an hour of this Blues would be slumped in their seats, comatose by ennui. That evening they would be confused at hearing certain quarters of the media describe it as a performance that wins titles.
For the first time that I can ever recall I have changed my objectivity in the middle of writing an article. This was intended to assert that Pep Guardiola is an infinitely better coach than his long-standing rival; more nuanced and certainly more deserving of laudation. I was even going to place Pep in control at Old Trafford and speculate how spectacularly good the football would be to watch from the likes of Pogba, Martial and Rashford under his charge.
Yet writing the above brought me out in a cold sweat. It momentarily became too easy to picture; all too real.
So some United supporters claim that City are only the kings of Manchester right now because they have spent more? Big deal. To them I say keep on believing that if it gets you through the night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Manchester City icon opens talk about move to New York City FC – report
Manchester City legend Yaya Touré has opened preliminary talks about a move to City Football Group partner club New York City FC, MLS journalist Jeff Rueter has reported.
A report by the Daily Star Sunday back in October suggested Yaya could leave Manchester for New York, and now sources stateside appear to be backing it up.
The main disagreement, according to Rueter, is when the 34-year-old Ivorian would leave. NYCFC would like him in January, but conscious of a busy schedule ahead as they fight on all fronts, City would like Touré to remain until his contract expires in the summer.
Yaya, one of the most instrumental figures in City’s new era of success, has yet to start a Premier League game this season, appearing twice off the bench. He has made two starts in the Carabao Cup, but has found appearances had to come by, with Fernandinho starting most weeks in the anchor role.
Touré is destined to end a glorious, if often controversial eight-year stay at the Etihad, and now the question is will it be to New York City FC – and if now, will we bid goodbye to the talismanic midfielder in January or next summer?OLD SKOOL ADVATARS & BANNERS
Manchester City news: Ederson's fearless mentality helped him adjust in the Premier League
EDERSON MORAES says his ‘no fear’ philosophy has helped his rapid adjustment to the Premier League.
A few eyebrows were raised when Manchester City signed the Brazilian for a £35million world-record fee for a goalkeeper in the summer after he had experienced only one full season of first team football at Benfica.
Many overseas goalkeepers take time to adjust to the flying boots, elbows and aerial bombardments when they arrive in English football – David De Gea being the most notable example.
But Moraes, 24, has looked comfortable in the air, shown a willingness to put his head and body in where it hurts and produced accurate distribution with both feet to established himself as City’s No 1 – keeping eight clean sheets in his first 15 games.
He was playing again five days after having eight stitches in a facial gash caused by the high boot of Liverpool striker Sadio Mane in September – a sickening incident that could have dented his confidence.
“It’s the way I play," he said. “If I have to put my hand, my head, my foot there to help the team that’s what I’m going to do. It’s part of the game, those situations in the box. I have always played the same way. I have no fear of anything.
“I’ve always watched the Premier League - it was my favourite competition - so I knew how physical the game is here, how strong it is and all the tackles. So I was ready for that and I wasn’t really surprised. It was my dream to play here.
“Obviously it’s a different championship than I was used to - it’s really quick, really strong and you must be focused for 90 minutes. It’s just a matter of adaptation, I think I’m settling in really quick but I just need to keep going and keep working for the team.”
Ederson kept a clean sheet when winning his first senior Brazil cap against Chile last month and is hoping to crank up the competition to be his country's regular No 1 at next summer’s World Cup finals if he gets the nod ahead of Roma’s Alisson Becker against England at Wembley tonight.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola will certainly have a keen eye on the game which could see Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus pitch up against Joe Hart - who is still a City player - Kyle Walker and John Stones. Raheem Sterling would have been in the mix too but for injury.
“If I get the chance to play, I’m going to try to give my best to stay in the team” said Ederson. “I think that the most important thing is being part of the Brazilian national squad and I just have to keep working hard to stay in the team.
“Wembley is a special stadium and if I have the chance to play with Brazil there it’s going to be amazing. England has a great group with a lot of quality players and the fans are going to win because they are going to enjoy a great game. It will be a good experience to face some of my City team-mates.“
Former Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who won 87 caps, believes Ederson is on the way to become the world’s best.
"He's a goalkeeper, who is improving all the time," he said. “He's ready to play in the World Cup and he's got all the ingredients to be the best goalkeeper in the world.
“He's already a complete goalkeeper who is really strong coming off his line. People enjoy watching him."FROWARD
(of a person) difficult to deal with; contrary.
"Sergio Agüero is probably City's best forward of all times, but Tevez was undoubtedly more froward."Pablo Zabaleta spotted wearing Manchester City scarf in West Ham training session
West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta is something of a cult hero at Manchester City.
The veteran Argentine defender is a much-loved figure at Manchester City and has already endeared himself to West Ham fans with his committed performances since joining on a free transfer in the summer.
Zabaleta has already seen the man who brought him to East London depart after Slaven Bilic was sacked last week with the Hammers in the relegation zone following a dismal start to the season.
The intensity of training on their first day together was noticeably higher but the session was also notable for something else... Zabaleta apparently sporting a Manchester City scarf.
Around 48 seconds into the video posted on West Ham's Twitter feed, the 32-year-old can be seen taking part in a passing drill alongside the likes of Mark Noble, Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini under the guidance of Pearce and Irvine and he is clearly wearing a white and light blue striped scarf as a snood in the cold conditions.
Pablo Zabaleta of West Ham United reacts to giving a penalty away during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on August 19, 2017 in...
Already a cult hero at the Etihad, it is sure to cement Zabaleta in the hearts of Cityzens.
Some Hammers fans will undoubtedly find it funny while others may think it somewhat peculiar.
One thing is for sure nobody will be able to question Zabaleta's commitment to the West Ham cause come Sunday evening when they take on Watford in a crucial game at Vicarage Road.OLD SKOOL ADVATARS & BANNERS
Arsene Wenger says Manchester City are not unstoppable
I've come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I am all out of bubblegum.
Arsene Wenger says Manchester City are "not unstoppable" and claims the referee had an "atrocious impact" in Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to the league-leaders earlier this month.
City continued their blistering form in their win over the Gunners - who face Spurs live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday - to move eight points clear at the top of the Premier League, having won 10 of their 11 league encounters.
"They are a good side but they are not an unstoppable side," he told BeIN Sports.
"If you look at the expected goals, it was 0.7 for them and 0.6 for us, it was a very tight game.
"They created very little and very little shots on target, just one more than us."
Wenger felt the match was a tighter affair than the scoreline suggested and inflicted blame on referee Michael Oliver for his role in the match, after City's third goal was allowed despite goalscorer Gabriel Jesus appearing to be in an offside position.
"The referee had an absolutely atrocious input to the result of the game," the 68-year-old added.
"Overall we were hugely punished by the third goal because at 2-1 we would have been in the game.
"I don't dispute that they are a good side, but they are not an unstoppable side."
Touching on the possibility of City going the whole season undefeated, Wenger cited his own 'Invincibles' - the side that completed the 2003-04 Premier League season undefeated - as the only club to have achieved the feat.
"People always want to predict what will happen in the game," he added.
"I don't know more than you, maybe, maybe not, but at the moment only one team has done it".Sergio Agüero: A place in the record books & forever in the hearts of Man City supporters
Some people remember where they were when President Kennedy was shot; when the World Trade Centre in New York was attacked or when Princess Diana died. I remember exactly where I was the day Sergio Agüero signed for Manchester City.
It was the 28th of July 2011 and I was in Tesco Express on Market Street in Manchester city centre. As the TV screens in the store flashed up with the news that City had confirmed his signing I forgot where I was for a moment and stood there smiling – we have our Romario – I thought to myself.
It had been three years since the Abu Dhabi takeover at City in which I (and thousands of others) had unwittingly won the football supporters lottery. In those three years City had gone from making up the numbers in the Premier League to challenging for Champions League places and winning our first trophy in thirty-five years.
Before that day City had signed some genuinely world class players such as Yaya Toure, David Silva and Carlos Tevez. As well as assembling a squad containing Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Mario Balotelli, when he was still regarded as the best young striker in Europe.
Furthermore, Roberto Mancini had installed a winning mentality into the team, giving the players and supporters a genuine belief that City could challenge the old ‘Sky four’ at the top end of the table. Now it seemed that signing Agüero would take us to the next level and we could start dreaming of a first league title since 1968.
As a City fan it’s difficult to describe what Agüero means to me and what he represents to the club. Legend and World Class are used a lot when describing players, but in my opinion, both apply to our Serge. It’s been a genuine pleasure to watch him play in sky blue week after week, season after season.
When Agüero’s not on the team sheet I have a feeling of sadness that I don’t get with any other player (except David Silva), knowing I may not get to see him play that weekend. When his name is on the team sheet it feels reassuring, that everything is good with the world and there’s a belief we have a chance to beat anyone. As Agüero picks the ball up and runs with it, defenders bouncing off him, there’s a sense of anticipation in the stadium which has fans literally on the edge of their seats.
I know I will always view Agüero through sky blue tinted glasses and that football is a game of opinions, for me he has been the best number nine in world football for the past six or seven years, by that I mean an out and out striker, a goal scoring machine.
When Agüero first appeared on the scene in Argentina there was the inevitable comparisons to Maradona, however I’ve always viewed him as the modern equivalent of Romario. Perhaps it’s because Romario was one of my favourite players in the nineties (plus only left footed players should ever be considered as the new Maradona), but their style of play is so similar, the close control, the quick bursts of speed, the low centre of gravity and the beautiful eyes of a killer when in front of goal.
Standing there that day, with my shopping basket in hand, blocking the aisle as people tried to get past me it still didn’t quite seem real. City had signed a truly special player, wanted by Europe’s top clubs and genuinely regarded as world class, a player with pace and skill who can score and create goals.
I remembered reading about Agüero in 2003 when he made his debut for Independiente aged fifteen, breaking Maradona’s previous record as the youngest player to play in Argentina’s top flight; seeing his goal for Independiente against Racing in 2005 and him signing for Atletico de Madrid in 2006 for twenty million euros, which at the time seemed a staggering amount for a seventeen-year-old that had never played in Europe.
I also remembered pre-takeover signing him on Pro Evolution Soccer while playing Master League as City, in those days it seemed like the only way Agüero would ever play for the team I loved, but now we had him. The season was just over a week away and I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas, despite Charlie Nicholas stating that he was the worst signing of the season I knew we had a great player.
I had to wait slightly longer than I’d expected to see Agüero in the flesh, he didn’t play in the Community Shield defeat to United and he was on the bench for the opening game of the season, a Monday night game on the 15th of August. As he warmed up the crowd rose to their feet to applaud him, then finally with half an hour left to play and City 1-0 up against a spirited Swansea making their Premier League debut he got the call from the bench.
As he jogged back down the touchline to get ready to go on a sense of anticipation spread across the stadium. I haven’t witnessed excitement like that for any player about to come on before or after that game, it felt as if we were about to see something special for the first time. Nobody there that day knew quite what an impact Agüero would have in that first season or the following years, but as he stepped onto pitch it felt like the moment City announced themselves as a genuine power in English football.
Agüero’s thirty-minute cameo is one of the best debuts by any City player, it’s certainly the best I’ve seen, although in my then thirty-one years as a City fan I’d seen a lot of poor players make their debut.
Ten minutes after coming on he scored his first goal for the club, a simple tap in; two minutes later he provided an assist for David Silva, sprinting on to a through ball, flicking the ball over the onrushing Swansea goalkeeper and then hooking it back over his head allowing Silva to score into an empty net. Then in injury time, at 3-0, with half the crowd already on their way home he scored a beautiful thirty-yard long range shot.
Those thirty minutes gave fans a glimpse of the full range of Agüero’s abilities and since then he has continued to score goal after goal. Thirty that first season, twenty-three in the league including the infamous “Agüeroooooo” moment that won City the league title and gave me the happiest day of my life.
Agüero’s statistics speak for themselves, 179 goals in 265 games, 130 in 189 premier league games. He has scored twenty or more league goals in four of his six seasons in England including the last three seasons in a row, an achievement that is even more impressive considering the most league matches he has played in any season is thirty-four and that was in his first 2011/12.
It seems that in England he is almost taken for granted, a lot of City fans feel that his achievements and talent have been overlooked, he has never made the Premier League team of the season and has never won the PFA or Football Writers Player of the Year awards.
I recently attended an OPTA event at Manchester Football Writing Festival this summer and a very well-respected journalist said Agüero would probably not be considered a Premier League great as he has only won two Premier League titles. I reminded him that Shearer only won one and Henry has also only won two. Even some City fans seemed quite happy with the idea of swapping Agüero with Sánchez in the Summer. Personally, I think this was partly due to some fans buying into the media narrative that Agüero has been unhappy since the arrival of Gabriel Jesus and partly due to the spoilt nature of other City fans post takeover, wanting the latest shiny new toy when they already have the Millennium Falcon.
Perhaps expectations are just too high with Agüero, I’ve found myself biting my lip at times on the tram after a match when I hear fellow supporters complaining about the chances he has missed or his performance. It’s easy to get into an argument at times as I listen in disbelief, no player is perfect, all players have bad games and off days, but the ease in which some fans discard Agüero and almost seem happy at the thought of him potentially leaving is alarming.
I can watch his goals again and again, on occasions sat with my dad watching compilations on YouTube, showing him early clips from Argentina and Atlético as well as his City goals, still not quite believing we are watching a City player. They are all beautiful to us; the tap ins; the one on ones; the long rangers; the mazy runs beating two, three, four players; the scrappy ones and surprisingly for a player of his size the headers.
Alongside the “Agüeroooo” moment, which brings a tear to my eye every time I watch it, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him score numerous times against Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
I’ve seen him score again and again against United, the way he celebrates when he scores derby goals are almost as good as the goals themselves, possibly another reason he is loved so much by the fans.
I’ve seen him score a hat trick against Bayern Munich and four in one game against Spurs. I was also there when he scored five in one game against Newcastle. He was substituted that day on sixty-three minutes and if he’d have stayed on the pitch I’m certain he would have become the first player to score a double hat trick in the Premier league.
I was also privileged enough to see him equal Eric Brook’s record as City’s highest goal scorer an unremarkable penalty against Burnley. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Naples last Wednesday when he scored his 178th goal for City. However, it felt fitting that he did it in a Champions league game against a team regarded as one of the best in Europe; inside the cauldron-like atmosphere of the San Paulo; a stadium where his former father in law scored so many goals and probably the European Stadium with the most South American feel.
There’s no other player I’d want the ball to land to like it did in that game, as soon as he picked the ball up on the edge of the area with only the keeper to beat I knew he was going to score, just as I knew on the 13th May 2012, just like everyone in the stadium then and last Wednesday knew.
I know there will be people that disagree with me, quoting Kane, Aubameyang, Suárez, Higuaín, Ibrahimovich or Lewandowski as better strikers. That’s fine, football is all about opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs. I’m happy to discuss with them all day why Agüero is the best. Furthermore, none of those players, apart from the possible exception of Kane if he stays at Spurs, will be loved by the fans the way Agüero is loved at City.
I also know Agüero won’t be at City forever, I just hope that he returns to Independiente after a few more years at City as the thought of seeing him play for another European team is just too heart-breaking. His last game at the Etihad will be an emotional day as we say goodbye to another Argentine hero who has given us so much happiness in sky blue. But, while we’re still lucky enough to have him at City I’ll continue to enjoy watching him play and score goal after goal after goal.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the way City fans feel about Sergio is in one of the songs we sing about him.
“This is how it feels to be City!
This is how it feels to be small!
You sign Phil Jones! we sign Kun Agüero! Kun Agüero!”Manchester City scoop double award at the Northwest Football Awards as David Silva wins Player of the Year and Young Lions hero Phil Foden is named Rising Star of the YearPhil Foden was named Rising Star of the Year at the Northwest Football Awards
The midfielder was a key part of England's Under-17 World Cup winning side
The Manchester City starlet beat the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold to the prize
City playmaker David Silva was voted the Premier League Player of the Year
Manchester City enjoyed a clean sweep at the Northwest Football Awards 2017 as Davis Silva picked up the Player of the Year award and 17-year-old Phil Foden went home with the Rising Star award.
Foden has enjoyed a sensational few months, playing a key role in the England Under 17s side that lifted the World Cup in India.
He walked away with the Golden Ball award, too, after the Young Lions came from behind to beat Spain 5-2 in the final in Jakarta.
And he was adding to his trophy case again on Monday evening as he was given the award for the best up and coming footballer in the North West, an honour previously bestowed on the likes of Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford.
He beat Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold to the award, as well as Manchester United's Angel Gomes, Alan Browne of Preston North End, Macclesfield Town youngster Mitch Hancox and Tranmere's Ben Tollitt.
Silva picked up the top prize after a sterling start to the 2017-18 campaign, in which he has proved a key figure in City's midfield, creating no fewer than seven goals in the league already this term.
He wasn't present to pick up his award first-hand however, with the 31-year-old currently on international duty with Spain, where his fine form is continuing after he grabbed two goals of his own and set up another against Costa Rica on Saturday evening.
There was also a third award for the club as co-assistant coach Brian Kidd was presented with the Lifetime Contribution award.
A former Manchester United youth team and assistant coach too, Kidd was handed his award by Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phill Neville, and City captain Vincent Kompany.
Elsewhere, James Milner walked away with the Impact Award, while Blackpool FC's Gary Bowyer was named Manager of the Year.
Sportsmail were also represented on the evening, with reporter Mike Keegan nominated for the Journalist of the Year award. OTHER BOLLOX
Real Madrid have decided to sell Wales forward Gareth Bale, 28, in the summer transfer window. (AS - in Spanish)
Former Tottenham and Southampton player Bale should return to the Premier League if it makes him happy, says Wales boss Chris Coleman. (Mirror)
Atletico Madrid have contacted Arsenal's Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil, 29, to offer the former Real Madrid player a return to Spain. (Sun)
Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Liverpool's Emre Can, with the 23-year-old midfielder's contract set to expire at the end of this season. (Times - subscription required)
Tottenham are monitoring Watford forward Richarlison. The 20-year-old Brazilian has scored four goals in 11 league games since his summer move to Vicarage Road. (Mirror)
Rangers are interested in Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, 48, who is also a target for Scotland. (Telegraph)
West Bromwich Albion have revived their interest in Fenerbahce's Brazilian midfielder Josef de Souza, commonly known as Souza. The Baggies offered £10.6m for the 28-year-old in the summer. (Mail)
Leicester City's Nigeria forward Ahmed Musa, 25, has left the door open for a move to Hull City in the January transfer window. Musa played under Tigers boss Leonid Slutsky at CSKA Moscow. (sport-express.ru)
Bolton Wanderers striker Gary Madine, 27, wants fellow forward Adam Armstrong, 20, to extend his loan at the Championship club from Newcastle United. (Bolton News)
Ipswich Town's 25-year-old striker Kieffer Moore, who has scored 13 goals on loan at League One Rotherham United, says he has not spoken to Tractor Boys boss Mick McCarthy about his future. (East Anglian Daily Times)
West Bromwich Albion fans displayed 'Pulis out' signs at a televised darts tournament in nearby Wolverhampton. The Baggies are 16th in the Premier League table, without a win in nine games. (Birmingham Mail)
Non-league Dudley Town have been forced to call off their last two West Midlands League Premier Division home games because badgers have ruined the pitch. (Express & Star)
Manchester United have sold more shirts than Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City combined this season, according to one sports retailer. (Manchester Evening News)
Former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp, 70, is not being considered for the vacant manager's job at Championship side Sunderland. (Northern Echo)
Ex-Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka, 44, is favourite to land the job with the Black Cats. (Sunderland Echo)
Portugal midfielder Adrien Silva, 28, says he is "disgusted by the injustice" of the transfer saga which has left him unable to play for Leicester City until January. (RTP - in Portuguese)
Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook, 20, has an outstanding future after being called up by England for Tuesday's friendly with Brazil, according to Cherries boss Eddie Howe. (Daily Echo)GOLDEN BOLLOX
On this day 14 Nov 2013
Pablo Zabaleta loses Man City vice-captaincy
MANUEL PELLEGRINI has risked the wrath of the Manchester City dressing room after axing Pablo Zabaleta as vice-captain.
The Argentine star was made stand-in skipper for the injured Vincent Kompany under former boss Roberto Mancini.
But Pellegrini has stripped Zabaleta of the role and given it to Yaya Toure.
“Some of the players are surprised and disappointed that Pablo has been stripped of the vice-captaincy”
Man City source
Toure has been leading the team in recent weeks due to Kompany being sidelined with a serious thigh problem.
But Starsport understands Pellegrini’s decision to demote Zabaleta has angered several players.
The full-back is one of the most popular members in the squad and is a big influence on the younger stars.
Zabaleta lost his place to Micah Richards for last weekend’s defeat at Sunderland.
A source told Starsport: “Some of the players are surprised and disappointed that Pablo has been stripped of the vice-captaincy.
“Pablo is the ultimate professional. He is so influential on the pitch and in the dressing room that there was a sense of shock at that.
“He has worked with the manager before so the assumption among the group was that Pablo would continue to wear the armband in Kompany’s absence.
“But it has been taken away and he has been in and out of the side.
“In tough away games they need someone to get them going and Pablo was always effective in that respect.
“Yaya is a world-class footballer, one of the best, but he would probably be the first to admit that he isn’t as vocal as Pablo.” STAR
Pell delayed Joe axe
Manuel wanted to drop Hart after Bayern gaffes
The City boss delayed dropping goalkeeper Joe Hart in order to help England qualify for the World Cup. The Chilean coach was due to drop the 26-year-old before England's World Cup qualifiers last month against Montenegro and Poland but delayed the decision so as not to knock Hart's confidence. Sun
Malaga warn Manchester City Willy Caballero will cost them £20million
Manchester City have been told they will have to pay £20million to sign goalkeeper Willy Caballero in the January transfer window.
City are believed to be the market for a new shot-stopper in the new year, with Manuel Pellegrini losing faith with the under-fire Joe Hart.
Celtic’s Fraser Forster and the Galatasaray ace Fernando Muslera have both been linked with moves to the Etihad, but Pellegrini is said to favour signing Caballero from former club Malaga.
However, despite the interest, Malaga say they would only part with the goalie if City made a bid which matched his £20million release clause.‘We will not sell Willy Caballero,’ said Malaga director general Vicente Casado.
‘He will not leave unless someone pays his release clause and he is in agreement. At the moment we are focused on building the squad’
Caballero only signed a new contract with Malaga recently, but his excellent performances in recent weeks have seen a number of top European sides show an interest.
Pellegrini is said to have made a goalkeeper his number one priority, and scouts are expected to watch all of Caballero’s matches until January.METRO
Napoli to battle Man City for Saint-Etienne youngster
Napoli boss Rafa Benitez is ready to battle Manchester City to sign Saint-Etienne youngster Kurt Zouma.
Benitez wants a new centre-back in January – talkSHIT told you earlier this year that he has considered raiding his former club Liverpool for both Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger – and he is now keen on Zouma.
The 19-year-old, who was recently handed a ten-match ban for breaking an opponent’s leg, has been followed by a number of top European sides, including Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.
talkSHIT also revealed to you that he has ruled out any future move to Saint-Etienne’s fierce local rivals Lyon.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has faced defensive problems this season and could ramp up his interest in Zouma in the New Year.
Liverpool have tracked the Frenchman in the past but they are less likely to make a move after snapping up Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori during the summer.
Vincent Kompany's Injury a Blow for Manchester City
Manchester City have received bad news regarding Vincent Kompany's latest injury. According to a report by Jamie Jackson in the Guardian, Kompany has been assessed by a member of the Belgium FA's medical staff and is now expected to be out until December.
Kompany needs an eight-week period to fully recover from a series of injuries, and having sustained the injury in the match at home to Everton on Oct. 1, he's not expected to return until at least the game against Swansea at the Etihad on Dec. 1. Pellegrini had initially suggested that he would return for the match against Viktoria Plzen in two weeks weeks.
Lieven Maesschalck, a trusted Belgian physio who has assessed Kompany, told Sky Sports:
"I think Vincent is going to be ready in several weeks," Maesschalck told Sky Sports News. "We will do everything we can to bring back Vincent in a good way for a long time.
"First of all he had a rupture, a tear into the abductor and then also he has bad luck with a small thing on the front side now, so it's everything together.
"It's not really so long, eight weeks is nothing in the time of injury, you must respect biology."
With City struggling to string a run of good results together, Kompany's experience and organisation in defence is badly needed. He brings a steadying influence to the team, and it's his presence—perhaps more than any other—that strengthens City's hand.
Kompany’s impact on the side is clear. Both last season and this season, his absence has had an adverse effect on the team’s ability to win points. A six-match period without him last February saw City surrender their title to Manchester United, and his injury troubles this year have set them back again.
I wrote in detail this week about City with and without Kompany, and the stats paint a clear picture. City average well over two points per game when he plays but dip below that level when he's missing.
A major problem for City is that Kompany's replacements haven't been good enough. Matija Nastasic is an excellent young player who is likely to play a major part in City's future, but his performances have a tendency to dip slightly when Kompany isn't there to marshal the back four. The 20-year-old isn't a natural leader and appears much more confident alongside his captain.
Joleon Lescott has played five times in the league this season but has failed to produce his form of old, while Javi Garcia, a midfielder by trade, has filled in at centre-back on numerous occasions, consistently looking uncomfortable in that role.
The injury to new signing Martin Demichelis was a big blow for Manuel Pellegrini. He was signed to provide the experienced cover City badly need, but a knee ligament injury just days after signing for the club saw him miss six weeks. He returned for the defeat at Chelsea and has already played four games. He should improve as he settles in to English football.
City will be hoping that Maesschalck's prognosis is conservative, and that Kompany will be back in a Blue shirt as soon as possible.
WEARING BLUE, SPOTTED OUTSIDE THE USUAL SUSPECT ... THE QUEEN IS TO SIGN FOR CITY
Manchester United boss David Moyes is considering a bid for midfielder Andres Iniesta, 29, after hearing the Spain international has fallen out with Barcelona bosses. DSSC
USA skipper Clint Dempsey, 30, is set to make a loan return to the Premier League from Seattle Sounders in January. Tottenham have first refusal on the midfielder but Fulham, Aston Villa and Everton are also interested. Daily Mirror
Celtic have agreed a £100,000 fee for the transfer of Fram Reykjavik's Iceland Under-21 striker Holmbert Fridjonsson, 20, his club chairman has claimed. Scotsman
AC Milan have turned to Newcastle full-back Davide Santon, 22, as the man they want to replace Ignazio Abate, 27, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal. Daily Express
Porto's Colombian striker Jackson Martinez, 27, is prepared to depart for a bigger club, with Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham interested in signing him during the summer. Daily Star
Chelsea are planning a £25m move for Marseille defensive midfielder Giannelli Imbula, 21. Daily Express
Former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu, 45, is set to agree to become Crystal Palace's next manager - if he is given a contract lasting at least two years. Daily Mirror
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, 33, will have a painkilling injection for his hip injury so he can play in England's friendly against Germany on Tuesday. The captain is already out of Friday's game against Chile. DSSC
Chile and Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez says Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster is the "complete player". Forster, 25, pulled off a remarkable double save when Barca beat Celtic 1-0 in the Champions League last month and is expecting a tough challenge with Forster set to play for England against Chile. Daily Telegraph
The German FA has downgraded its ticket request for the friendly against England next Tuesday to less than 1,000 seats after little interest in the game from its supporters. Independent
Meanwhile, England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate says West Brom striker Saido Berahino, 20, could force his way into the senior team's plans for the World Cup. Times
Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, 26, has thanked fans for the support he has received in recent days, as club figures defended their handling of his fitness over recent months. ESPN