Sergio Agüero is still ridiculous

Quite frankly, it isn‘t fair. There are rules about this sort of thing.

You go up, across, and down.

That’s how a footballer’s career is supposed to go. Up, across, and down. You get better, you get to your best, you stay there as long as you can ... and then you decline. Of course, the across rarely looks like a straight line, but the overall shape is always the same. Up around the age of 20, across for a decade or so, and then comes 30 and the down.

Well, Sergio Agüero isn’t having it. Though he began his fourth decade last June, and though he’s been playing professional football since the age of 15, he’s still bouncing along very nicely. In fact, he is getting better. The swine.

Against Chelsea on Sunday, Agüero began his day by missing an open goal from approximately two yards. He made up for this a few minutes later by lashing one into the net from 20 yards, the first goal in a hat trick that showcased the striker’s art: first a wondergoal, then a scruffy piece of opportunism, and finally a nerveless, never-in-doubt penalty.

He hit the bar with a header, too. Would have been a bit much. True greatness is as much a measure of restraint as it is excellence.

Agüero did all this on the wrong side of 30, while getting on 700 games in his legs. A few years ago, foolish people — Tactically Naive very much among them — wondered if the arrivals of Pep Guardiola, and later Gabriel Jesus, might leave little space for Agüero. Such a pure goalscorer could have no place in the ultramodern, multidimensional intricacy of Pepball.