London (AFP) – Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has suffered a broken rib in a car crash in the Netherlands, dealing a major blow to the Premier League leaders’ title aspirations.
Aguero had established himself as the driving force behind City’s surge to the top of the table with six Premier League goals this season, but now the Argentine ace could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The 29-year-old sustained the injury after a taxi taking him to an Amsterdam airport following a music concert was involved in an accident on Thursday night.
City manager Pep Guardiola said Aguero will miss City’s clash at champions Chelsea on Saturday, and is also set to be sidelined for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers early in October.
British media reports claim Aguero will be out of action for at least two months, but Guardiola did not have an exact time frame for how long his star would spend recovering from the injury.
“The first impression is he has broken a rib but the number of days he will be out, I don’t know,” Guardiola told reporters in Manchester on Friday.
Aguero was due to return to Manchester on Friday morning, with Guardiola insisting he had no problem with Aguero being in Amsterdam on his day off.
“A day off is to be happy,” he said. “I am a trainer who doesn’t want to train every day because they (the players) need to rest, mentally and physically.”
Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told AFP that officers attended an accident in the city at around 11:00pm (2100 GMT) on Thursday after “a taxi-cab hit a lamp-post”.
He could not confirm the identities of the two passengers and the driver, who all asked to remain anonymous.
“No other vehicles were involved,” he told AFP early on Friday, adding that three people in the taxi “have been transferred to hospital for observation… but there were no bad injuries”.
The accident occurred on De Boelelaan street, said Zuiderhoek, not far from the Arena A where Colombian singer Maluma performed on Thursday.
Television images showed a black cab, mounted on the grassy middle of a busy four-lane highway, the front staved in after it apparently ploughed front first into a tall blue-and white striped lamppost.
It was surrounded by at least two ambulances and two police cars.
Aguero, who has scored 176 goals for the English club, on Thursday posted a picture of himself with Maluma on his official Instagram page.
Aguero’s former club Independiente posted a message of support on Twitter, saying: “Strength and speedy recovery @aguerosergiokun! All @Independiente is with you at this difficult time.”
The striker, whose side are above Manchester United on goal difference, needs only two more goals to pass Eric Brook as City’s all-time leading scorer and is widely viewed as one of the world’s most feared strikers.
– Hero for fans –
Yet just seven months ago, Aguero’s Eastlands future appeared bleak after he lost the trust of City manager Pep Guardiola.
Having earned his way back into Guardiola’s good graces by refusing to complain publicly about his treatment last term, Aguero has made himself indispensible with a barrage of goals.
He is a hero among City fans after scoring the winning injury-time goal that snatched the 2011/12 Premier League title away from arch-rivals Manchester United, one of the most dramatic goals in the league’s history.
Signed from Atletico Madrid for £38 million ($51 million, 42 million euros) by then-City boss Roberto Mancini in 2011, Aguero wasted little time announcing his arrival on the Premier League stage.
He marked his City debut with two goals in a 30-minute substitute appearance against Swansea.
By the time City reached the final game of the season, Aguero had scored 23 times in the league to fire the club towards their first title in 44 years.
His goals were a key element in City’s second Premier League triumph two years later.
He has also won the League Cup twice and finished as the Premier League’s top scorer in the 2014/15 season.
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