'I thought it was a joke': Sergio Aguero opens up about Lionel Messi's departure from FC Barcelona

Jul 19, 2022 01:28 PM IST

Aguero and Messi have represented Argentina together ever since they were in the youth teams, and both established themselves as true legends of the game.

When Sergio Aguero left Manchester City as a club legend and headed for FC Barcelona, a large part of the Spanish club's allure would have been the opportunity for Aguero to join his good friend and long-time Argentina teammate Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou. However, it wasn't meant to be, as Barcelona failed to agree a renewed deal with a player widely regarded as the greatest of all time, seeing him head off to Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent in 2021.

Lionel Messi with Sergio Aguero(AP/File Photo)
Lionel Messi with Sergio Aguero(AP/File Photo)

Aguero and Messi have represented Argentina together ever since they were in the youth teams, and both established themselves as true legends of the game. They came close to winning the World Cup together in 2014, and when City decided it was time to move on from the best player in the history, it would have been a bittersweet moment for Aguero, with the assumption that he could move to Barcelona and help his closest ally further secure his legacy. However, mere weeks after Aguero joined the Catalans, it was revealed that Messi would be leaving the club — a decision that caused shockwaves around world football, and something that nobody expected to see, with Messi having been at Barcelona since he was a child.

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Speaking to Barca Universal, Aguero said, "How did I find out about Messi’s departure from Barça? I was with Ibai, drinking mate, and suddenly… he looks at the phone and says to me: ‘No, is this true?’ and shows me the phone with the Barça official announcement." It was certainly a bombshell, shaking football up massively, but due to Barcelona's struggling finances and the incredible wages Messi demanded, a renewal couldn't be lined up for the 7-time Balon d'Or winner.

“When Barcelona announced Messi’s departure I thought someone had hacked Barça’s social networks. I thought it was a joke," continued Aguero. The love story between Messi and Barca is well documented, the pair having spent 17 years together, going over one of the most important and historic spells in the club's history, in which they won the Champions League 4 times, and dominated La Liga despite the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo and a wealthy Real Madrid across the country.

Messi and Barca have been synonymous with one another, and for someone as close to Messi as Aguero, who dreamt of sharing the pitch with Messi at club level, it certainly would have been an incredibly disappointing moment to learn that they were to be separated.

The 2021/22 season was a struggle for Messi, who scored fewer than 10 goals in the league for the first time since he was a teenager, that too in a relatively weaker league in the shape of Ligue 1 in France. Barcelona got off to a torrid start, knocked out in the group stages of the CL, and although club legend Xavi was brought in as manager and ensured they finished strong, they had to watch on as rivals Real lifted the La Liga and CL double. Aguero was forced into premature retirement due to cardiac arrhythmia.

Argentina did lift the Copa America for the first time in Messi and Aguero's careers in 2021, only a second crowning moment they shared with each other, having won the 2008 Olympic gold for the Albiceleste.


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