Sergio Aguero: Manchester City's hunt for the treble

News Content

We’re down to the business end of the season and Manchester City are looking ominous as they hunt down the treble of Premier League, FA Cup & Champions League. We caught up with our Global Football Ambassador to get his thoughts on Manchester City v Arsenal, their chances against Real Madrid and his experience of the run-ins of the past.

Another Champions League semi-final for Manchester City, how impressed were you with how they handled Bayern Munich?

It was a very engaging bracket. City did their work while at home – not an easy task though. They managed to hold that lead away.

It was top quality football, and City was able to show where they are strong, strike at the right moment.

Bayern's a tough rival, but City came out on top as the just victor.

Erling Haaland showed he is human with the penalty miss, but duly then went and scored in the second half, is he the best player in the world right now, never mind just the best striker?

He's still showing his thirst for goals, that'll always be a good thing for City. Missing a penalty is not unheard of.

But as a I said when the season kicked off – if Haaland showed consistency with his recent performance, he'd be able to break many records for the Premier League and the rest of the major tournaments.

Then, we saw him being clinical later in the game, giving a hint that he was unfazed by the miss.

That's how hungry he is – he's lethal inside the box. I'd say he's one of the top contemporary strikers.

Rumours are suggesting City are working on a new contract for him already, how delighted are you as a City fan?

I think he's doing brilliant work for his first year in the team.

He washed off the pressure of a new tournament – it can feel like an uphill battle to adapt to the Premier League and a great team like City.

Haaland's shown he can do it. For all of us who love this club, this is a wonderful moment to enjoy the show – he's a cracking striker.

Jack Grealish is starting to shine and become almost un-droppable for Pep - how impressed have you been with his performances this season?

Jack did take his first season to adapt, and with time, he's grown to be key to the team.

You can see he understands Pep's system and that allows him to make a difference.

He's got superb ball control – snatching it from him looks very tough –, great passing, assists, and finishing.

John Stones looks so composed playing as a hybrid midfielder these days, just how good and clever a footballer is he?

Everyone should know by now that John Stones is a quality player, and a quality person too.

He's having a wonderful season, playing in many positions and doing a great job at each of them to boot.

Being able to play a little bit closer to the opposing goal has afforded him some chances to score too.

John is also very tight on his marking, and he can manoeuvre the ball with care and precision.

Bernardo Silva is just as important to City, wherever he plays, how gutted will everyone be if he does decide to move on in the summer?

Oh, Bernardo, what a player! He can do no wrong. Bernardo is the decisive factor.

If he chooses to leave... we'll miss him, for sure.

No matter the position he's playing, you can tell he tips the balance of the match for City.

The bracket against Bayern Munich saw Bernardo play brilliantly, especially during the first match.

Not a lot of players have the combination of skills that he has – dribbling, passing, scoring, and great awareness.

Up next for City is Real Madrid, what is your prediction across the two legs?

It's an early final – a gruelling series of matches for sure. We

We saw that last year. I think City will get there in one piece, but they'll have an intense bout of games leading up to it.

This being said... this will be a match like no other.

I know they'll be able to leave everything behind when the starting whistle blows.

2022 gave the team a lot of experience, and that will matter.

As for Madrid, we know what they are capable of.

The bracket will be tight, but I have faith in City and I believe they'll make it through.

Who are the danger men for Real that the City players need to pay the most attention to?

The teams themselves are the threat – you can't look at one, two or three players That's not smart for City, and it's not smart for Madrid either.

I don't mean to dodge the question though... if I have to give an answer, I'd say that the Vinicius-Benzema combination is one of the weapons that City will need to dismantle.

But that isn't a breakthrough of any sorts.

Both teams do have amazing players who can mark the difference at any given moment.

Who are the danger men for Real that the City players need to pay the most attention to?

Madrid did the job, they were able to capitalize very well on Chelsea's injuries and slump in performance.

That's how Madrid is – when they smell it, they can pounce on an opening and take a match that seemed to be slipping out of their grasp.

More so this close to the finals.

Will last season’s capitulation at the Bernabeu be playing on the minds of the City players? They were so close to reaching the final until a 3-1 loss in Spain.

I hope it is.

That's the meaning of experience, isn't it?

They'll have to learn from it, particularly this late into the knockouts.

No one should grow complacent.

They'll have to keep performance at the highest level until the very last second of the very last match.

Without looking too far ahead, the final will be played against either AC Milan or Inter Milan, is this City’s best ever chance of finally winning the Champions League?

Only the best teams get to the semis, no reason why this would be different.

To be the champ, you need to beat them all. 

Looking ahead to the massive title decider against Arsenal on Wednesday, have Arsenal started to show signs of weakness with their recent dropped points?

A key match for sure, but certainly a different game than, say, if Arsenal had a bigger point advantage on the table.

Now, we can expect a heightened intensity because of how tight it's become. City has had a fine performance lately.

We managed to pull it off last year, and we may just do it this year too.

Knowing Mikel Arteta as you do, what will he be saying to his Arsenal players before the game at the Etihad?

Probably, the same thing he's said throughout the season.

They've played superbly, they've gained confidence in the way they play.

Arteta's work with the whole roster was extraordinary, especially with the youngest players.

They want the glory – but they'll have to take on City first. And we'll fight until the very end.

Which team is under more pressure in that game - City or Arsenal?

Why not both? They've been fighting neck-and-neck throughout the whole campaign, and they don't want it to slip away at the last stretch.

It may be more pressure for us because we've played a great streak of games – and a win here would crown this performance.

Regardless, I wouldn't use the word 'pressure'. I say it's enthusiasm. We all wanted this game to arrive, and I'm sure it'll be a sight.

You’ve played in big title deciders like these before - like the Manchester derby in 2012 or at Anfield in 2014. What advice would you give to the City players before the game?

Fight until the very end, my catchphrase... but that's in City's DNA by now.

Time and time again, we've proven that.

Last year, for example.

I don't envy our rivals – they are facing a team that was able to turn the tables during the most decisive moments.

If City manage to claw back Arsenal’s lead at the top and win the Premier League, could we see you celebrating in your full kit again like you did with Argentina?

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

I'd love for that to happen. If it does, wherever I might be, I'll be celebrating, that's for sure.

If City win the game on Wednesday, does that make them favourites - even though Arsenal will still be at the top of the table?

It ain't over til it's over.

I don't see why we should take anything for granted.

A win will get City closer to the trophy, yes... but there's no guarantees.

I wanted to talk about a former teammate of yours - Frank Lampard. Given how much he loves the club, was he the right man to lead Chelsea until the end of the season? How much will this poor run of form be affecting him personally?

Frank clearly loves Chelsea.

If you ask me, this love is what propelled him to the helm of the club in this tough moment.

Very few people can shed off the funk and give it all for their team.

But I believe he can, and that's something that should be admired, despite the results. I wish Frank the best – he's a great pro, and an even better person.

As far as mentors go, is there a better person to learn from for your compatriot Enzo Fernandez than Frank - one of the best midfielders of his generation?

Not many people get a chance to learn from the best.

I tried to do that during my career, and I've picked up teachings that I'll carry with me forever. Frank's experience will certainly be useful for Enzo.

He's a great kid, and you can tell he wants to keep on growing.

Much has been said about where Lionel Messi will be playing his football next season, where would you like to see your friend playing next season?

Wherever he feels like.

That's the best place for him. I wish Leo the best, because he deserves it.

Nothing can beat whatever his choice is.

If he were to return to Barcelona, can he inspire them to win the Champions League like the club craves so much?

I'd love to see him play for Barca again, but as I said, it's on him to decide.

We all know what Leo can give back to Barca once more.

Barca appear closer than ever to winning the La Liga title, how much credit does Xavi deserve for the job he has done?

Xavi's job has been admirable – you can't forget he got there in a time that he needed to rebuild the team.

He's managed to hold fast to the top spot, and comfortably so.

Xavi knows the team and its people very well. He's a legend, and he's shown to be up for the task during trying times.

Gavi is still being linked away from the club in the summer, would a Premier League move suit him or should he continue to play under Xavi at Barca?

Personally, I'd rather see him continue playing for Barca.

He's young, but by now, he's proven his feelings for the club, and that he can be one of the cornerstones for their success.

Anything can happen in football, though. We'll have to wait and see.

Ansu Fati is another player linked with a Premier League move, what advice would you offer him about where he should play his football next season?

Ansu is a fine player. I was able to train with him when we were both out on injury, during my time in Barca.

Those very injuries costed him play time, and you can tell getting back to action has been rough.

I do think it's a matter of time, and we'll see his full prowess soon.

As I said about Gavi – anything is possible, so it's tough to foresee the future.