Kick Off tip Aguero shines

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The 20-year-old scored a brace in a 3-0 win over the old enemy in Shanghai, sealing Argentina’s place in Saturday’s Final against a rampant Nigeria, who disposed of Belgium 4-1 earlier in the day.

And in the August 11, 2008 edition of Kick Off magazine, we featured an exclusive interview with the Atletico Madrid star, and asked the question, could he be the player that finally takes over from Diego Maradona?

The young forward was humble in his assessment, but his performances at this year’s Olympics will only enhance that reputation.

On being spoken of, along with compatriot Lionel Messi, as the new Maradona … Aguero: It’s important to remember that Maradona was one of the greatest players of all time. He was a unique footballer … irreplaceable. For me, he has always represented an iconic figure; a footballing god in Argentina. Maradona lined up more as an attacking midfielder, Messi can play as a midfielder, striker or out wide, while I prefer to play the more traditional striker role. But we have the potential to play at a level that will be etched in history.

On using football to escape poverty … Poverty played a significant role in my life and I realised football was my only way out. When I first started playing, the idea of reaching this level was merely a dream, but the illusion was there. I didn’t expect to achieve so much so quickly. I made my debut for Independiente as a 15-year-old in 2003 before joining Atletico in 2006.

On breaking Maradona’s record as the youngest player ever to feature in the Argentine First Division (aged 15) … My first thought was to simply enjoy the moment – I tried not to think about it too much. Football, for me, is a passion, which is why I always try to do the same thing on the pitch in Madrid as I did in the streets of Buenos Aires. I think this had a lot to do with my early debut. You have to truly enjoy the game and remember that you’re not just a professional, but also a fan.

On making his international debut, ironically, a 3-0 defeat by Brazil … Winning my first cap was amazing, especially as it came against Brazil. Football is a passion in both Argentina and Brazil, so there is always fierce competition between the two countries.

On representing Argentina at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa … Representing Argentina at my first World Cup will be a tremendous honour and something I will never forget. There is so much personal reward, but also the reward you can bring to a nation. Of course, we first have to qualify, but I’m looking forward to the adventure. I’ve done quite a bit of travelling in Europe, but I can’t wait to see South Africa. I’m positive the stadiums will be packed and the atmosphere will be truly unique.

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