Sergio Aguero — Since becoming the youngest debutant in the history of the Argentinian first division at the age of 15 years, one month and three days, Sergio Aguero has proved time and again he has a big-match temperament.
A product of the Independiente youth academy, Aguero has spent the last four seasons with Spain’s Atletico Madrid, where he has earned the devotion of the fans with his cool finishing and a fearless ability to take on and beat opposing defenders.
His breakthrough into the full national side came after his sparkling performances helped Argentina to victory at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007, his second success in the tournament after also featuring at Netherlands 2005.
As well as pulling on the captain’s armband in Canada, Aguero finished top scorer with six goals and collected the adidas Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player. Regular appearances for La Albicelestethen followed, first under Alfio Basile and then Diego Maradona.
In 2008, he formed part of the team that won Olympic gold at Beijing, scoring two goals against Brazil in the semi-finals. And in the qualifiers for South Africa 2010 he made 12 appearances and scored four goals, making him Argentina’s joint top-scorer in the competition with Juan Roman Riquelme.
Nicknamed El Kun after a cartoon character, Aguero is also the subject of a song by Argentinian dance band Los Leales, a favourite group of his and with whom he has even appeared on stage. His son Benjamin is also the grandson of national coach Maradona.
Aguero made his senior debut for Argentina in a friendly with Brazil, played at Emirates Stadium, England on 3 September 2006. As a teenager, he represented Argentina at three FIFA World Youth Championships. Together with future 2008 Olympics squad teammates Fernando Gago of Real Madridand Lionel Messi of Barcelona, they won the 2005 edition in the Netherlands.
At the 2007 U-20 World Cup in Canada, he scored twice and helped set up three goals in a 6–0 win over Panama in the second game of the group stage of the tournament. Aguero then scored the only goal in Argentina’s third match against North Korea from a free kick. Having qualified to the round of 16, he scored two of the three goals against Poland that would eventually give them a 3-1 win to advance to the next round. Argentina defeated Mexico in the quarter-finals and Chile in the semi-finals, and faced the Czech Republic in the finals, a team they drew 0-0 in the group stage. Aguero captained and scored the equaliser in the 62nd minute, leading to a 2–1 victory. In addition, Aguero won the Golden Boot of the tournament, scoring six goals in seven games, and the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament, succeeding to countryman Lionel Messi who won both awards at the 2005 tournament.
As a member of the Argentine squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Agüero scored two goals in the space of five minutes in the semi-final 3–0 win over Brazil on 19 August 2008. Argentina went on to win the gold medal, a second in a row at the Olympic tournament.
He was chosen for the 2010 World Cup squad, and was a substitute in Argentina’s first match against Nigeria. He was not used in the match, but it ended 1-0 for Argentina. Aguero made his World Cup debut in Argentina’s second group match against Korea Republic on 12 June 2010, replacing Carlos Tevez in the 75th minute. Aguero’s impact was immediate as Argentina scored in the next minute. He assisted on Gonzalo Higuain’s hat-trick goal late in the game. Argentina won the game 4-1.