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Deconstructing Sergio Aguero's "Twitterstorm"
By: timbersfan , 12:18 AM GMT on September 21, 2012
Anybody needing any further evidence of the hold that the cherished young men who play for our beloved clubs have over our hearts and minds need only look to what happened Tuesday night with Sergio Aguero.
The Manchester City striker, still not 100 percent fit after his injury, was an unused substitute in Real Madrid's dramatic 3-2 victory. But it was afterwards that he made headlines. Spanish journalists stopped him on his way out and asked him why he didn't join Real the summer before last, when he left Atletico Madrid to join City. Was it true that he said he would never play for Real given his past with their crosstown rivals?
"If Real Madrid had been interested in me, then I would be here," he said. "I had no option but to join City."
He also made it a point to refute the quotes attributed to him recently in which he allegedly said that "he would never play for Real Madrid because [he] played at Atletico."
In the age of Twitter, it took no more than a few seconds for those words to bounce around the world. The technical term for the reaction is "Twitterstorm." Some City fans despaired. Others called the press liars who had clearly twisted his words. A largely silent majority -- you would hope -- put their faith in the fact that Aguero has shown no signs of wanting to leave Eastlands and, in fact, repeatedly says he's happy at City.
Aguero himself had to turn to Twitter to clear things up: "Just to make it clear, I'm very happy to be [at Manchester City]. It's the best decision I could have taken." He added that he felt "comfortable" and "appreciated."
This is a textbook case in which somebody answering questions honestly can wreak havoc on our emotions. Nothing Aguero said was contradictory. It's just that, when it comes to clear thinking and feeling secure, some supporters are like pre-teens with their very first girlfriend. "If [INSERT NAME OF POPULAR BOY IN SCHOOL] had asked me out, I'd be dating him right now. But I needed a date for the junior high semi-formal and you're the only one who asked me, so I had no real option."
That's the gist. At 12, it can be soul-destroying. As fans -- even as adults -- well, we don't always quite grow up when it comes to our heroes.
But apply some logic and it's not so difficult to find a rational explanation for what Aguero said.
In the summer of 2011, when Atletico put him up for sale, he was linked with a move to Real Madrid. No "formal bid" ever came from the Bernabeu (though, on its own, that doesn't mean much, as clubs usually only make "formal bids" when they've made enough informal ones that they know the "formal bid" will be accepted). Juventus made an inquiry but he was too expensive. So he ended up at City for around $60 million.
Since then, his father-in-law -- who isn't just any in-law, but a certain Diego Armando Maradona -- has said on more than one occasion that moving to City was a mistake and he should have joined Real. Throw in the fact that Aguero was quoted -- incorrectly, according to him, but nobody knew that at the time -- as saying that he would never play for Real and yeah, it's fair to ask him why he didn't move across town and whether it's true that he could never pull on the white shirt.
You can only assume his answer was accurate at the time: that if Atletico had accepted an offer from Real he would have taken it. It's not a knock on City. It's neither heretical nor offensive to suggest that in 2011, to a 23-year-old kid from Quilmes, all things being equal, signing for a club like Real Madrid (he wouldn't even have needed to move house) might be more attractive than going to Manchester where he'd have to learn a foreign language, adapt to a new league and join a club that -- however ambitious and wealthy -- won't be matching Real's history and pedigree any time soon.
But that doesn't mean Aguero isn't happy where he is now. Nor does it mean, regardless of what his father-in-law might say, that he has some regret. Maradona is a living legend, but he doesn't speak for Aguero and he's not his agent. No more than your father-in-law (if you have one) speaks for you or advises you on your career.
And what about the implication that Aguero is open to joining Real Madrid one day? Isn't that a reason to worry? Maybe. Or it could just be that Aguero was being polite. He spent five seasons at Atletico, but he's not a Francesco Totti, Gary Neville or Xavi, guys who would rather be lobotomized than join their arch-rival. He's never played that role. He's a professional who, frankly, has nothing to gain by ratcheting up the rivalry with Real Madrid and saying he'd never join them.
What matters now is that he's at City and, when fit, he's extremely happy and productive. It's not just his words that point to this; it's his behaviour and his actions. But, of course, that's the rational mind speaking. And sometimes logic isn't enough to chase away our insecurities.