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Salah ‘excellent’ but yet to match Aguero – Guardiola – football news

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah must show consistency over a long period to earn comparisons with Sergio Aguero, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Egypt international Salah scooped a host of individual awards, including the golden boot, last season after netting 44 goals in all competitions for the Reds.

Aguero however is the second highest scoring overseas player in Premier League history and last month entered the top 10 in the all-time standings after goals against Cardiff City and Brighton and Hove Albion – surpassing Teddy Sheringham.

The Argentina forward has netted at least 28 times in six of his seven full seasons in England and though Guardiola is expecting more from Salah he feels comparisons between the pair are premature.

“He (Salah) is younger and it was his first year back in England since his time at Chelsea, so we will see in the future,” said Guardiola.

“But a guy who has the quality to score 50 goals in a season always has that quality. But football is all about ups and downs.

“Salah remains an excellent player and will score goals in the future. When you are in there scenting goals sometimes this happens.

“Sergio has scored a lot of goals but there were periods when he didn’t score goals.

“How many years has Sergio scored all those goals, eight or nine years? For Salah it was the first one so we will see in seven or eight years.”

Salah is yet to recapture his form from his maiden campaign at Anfield, scoring just three times in 10 appearances this season and was even taken off during the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last weekend.

The ex-Roma winger scored in two of Liverpool’s three wins over Man City last term and they will hope to make it five home league wins in a row over Guardiola’s men when the two sides meet on Sunday.

Guardiola has not been surprised by Liverpool’s impressive start to the season – they have won six and drawn one of their seven league games just like City – but has refused to name them as the only challengers for the Premier League title.

“Liverpool are a strong team but so are Chelsea, and Arsenal, Manchester United. Tottenham as well,” the Spaniard added.

“But for us, for Manchester City, we want to defend our title, and they are contenders. Liverpool have started so well, they have the same points us, but we were expecting that all along.

“Liverpool were an excellent team last season and since then they have bought some more incredible players to fight against us.”

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Explained: Why Sergio Aguero is nicknamed Kun – football news

Odds are you’ve noticed that Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero doesn’t have his first name printed on the back of his shirt – instead having “Kun” emblazoned on his kit.

The Argentina international is the Etihad club’s top-scorer and has permanently etched his name into the club’s history, starting from when he netted that memorable stoppage-time goal against Queens Park Rangers in 2012 to secure the title at the death.

So why does Aguero go by “Kun” instead of his first name? GBP Sports takes a look.


Why does Sergio Aguero go by “Kun”?


Augero is nicknamed “Kun” and has the name “Kun Aguero” printed on the back of his shirts instead of “Sergio Aguero”.

The reasoning for the nickname dates back to his childhood, revealing that it was actually his grandfather who chose the name for him after a Japanese cartoon character called “Kum-Kum”, who liked to create trouble.

“Kun actually represents a Japanese cartoon character from my favourite series that I used to watch as a child,” Aguero had told the BBC.

“I coined the nickname Kun because of my resemblance to the character, who was actually named ‘Kum Kum’.

“My grandparents were the first ones who gave me the name. I think my nickname is different in comparison to most athletes and so I have grown to appreciate it because it’s unique. It’s not everyday an athlete is nicknamed after a cartoon character!”

In addition to the relation to the Japanese cartoon character, in Japanese language honorifics, the word “Kun” is used to address mostly men and young boys. It is a term used by superior figures to inferiors, males of the same age and status to each other, and addressing male children.

Schoolteachers, for instance, will typically address male students with “kun” while female students are addressed as “san” or “chan”.

According to Premier League rules, Aguero was allowed to have “Kun” on the back of his shirt so long as he could prove that he had done so in another league (which he did in La Liga with Atletico Madrid).


Does Aguero have “Kun” on his shirt for both club and country?


Sergio Aguero Argentina 2018

The 30-year-old does have “Kun Aguero” on both his Argentina kit and his Manchester City kit, and started the tradition when he was playing for Atletico.


Which other footballers have a nickname on the back of their shirt?


Simply going by your last name is something of a forgotten tradition now, with a slew of footballers preferring to have either a nickname, their first name, or a combination of their first names and last names on the back of their shirt.

Article continues below

Certain footballers like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, for instance, have their double-barrelled surname on their shirt while Virgil van Dijk just has “Virgil” on the back of their kit.

West Ham forward Javier Hernandez goes by “Chicharito” in his shirt, while Bryan Ruiz went by just his first name – stating that he doesn’t have much of an emotional tie to the surname of his father, who left his family when he was one years old.

Brazilian footballers such as Neymar, Alisson and Marcelo – who typically go by just one name – have that singular title on the back of their jersey, and Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno has foregone with the rules entirely and has opted for an “Alberto M.”.

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Guardiola to make late call on Aguero’s fitness for Hoffenheim clash – football news

Pep Guardiola will make a late decision on whether Sergio Aguero is fit to face Hoffenheim in the Champions League.

Manchester City take on the Bundesliga side on Tuesday having lost their first Group F game at home to Lyon.

Aguero, City’s record goalscorer, has been carrying a foot problem but has travelled to Germany with the squad.

And Guardiola indicated he will give the Argentina attacker as much time as possible to prove his fitness.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday] is such a big game and Sergio is here because the doctors said he is able,” Guardiola told a news conference. 

“Tomorrow we will decide whether to play him or Gabriel Jesus.

“[Fabian] Delph, no. Benjamin Mendy maybe [available to play Liverpool on Sunday] – we have enough days until the game so hopefully.

“The problem is that they still didn’t train with us, so hopefully when we return they can train with us.”

City received a boost with Kevin De Bruyne returning to training earlier than expected on Monday.

However, the Belgium star will not be available to play Hoffenheim and Guardiola is cautious over rushing his playmaker back to action.

“Today was his first training session back with the team so we will see when he’s ready to play.”

Article continues below

Speaking before Guardiola at Monday’s news conference, City captain Vincent Kompany hailed the returning De Bruyne.

“It’s difficult to quantify how much of a loss he has been,” Kompany said of his compatriot. “He is one of the best midfielders, we get more goals and assists with him.

“Luckily we have players to fill the gap. He has a huge presence and you don’t find it anywhere else in football.”

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Guardiola hails ‘authentic legend’ Aguero after milestone Man City appearance – football news

Pep Guardiola is in no doubt over Sergio Aguero’s status as a Manchester City legend after the striker made his 300th appearance for the club.

The Argentine opened the scoring on Saturday in the milestone display to take his goal tally up to 205 as City ran out 5-0 winners over Cardiff City.

The 30-year-old is now tied to the reigning Premier League champions until 2021 after recently agreeing to a one-year contract extension, and Guardiola hopes he sees it out. 

“He is an authentic legend,” Guardiola said to Sky Sports. “It’s important what he has done at this club and hopefully we will have him for longer and he stays in a good position.”

Aguero was joined on the scoresheet on Saturday by David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Riyad Mahrez netting twice as Guardiola’s men recovered from their midweek Champions League defeat to Lyon.

The coach was delighted with his side’s response to make it three Premier League wins in a row and remain close to early leaders Liverpool.

“The level today was the level of last season,” Guardiola said. “We cannot forget the Champions League, the opponents are good too, we knew that. It’s part of the process.

“The season is long, there are a lot of games to play. After one not good result, the team came back where it normally is.

“Of course we are more confident at 0-3 than 0-0, to score goals you have to be patient and let the game speak for itself.

Article continues below

“This kind of thing happens, we were patient, we didn’t suffer with the long balls and free-kicks, that’s always important.”

He also highlighted Mahrez, who got his first City goal just a few minutes after coming off the bench before rounding off the scoring late on.

“He’s a guy who is going to help us a lot because he is a special talent and in front of the box he has an incredible quality,” Guardiola said.

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Sloppy Man City with lessons to learn in quest to win Champions League – football news

If Pep Guardiola was “angry” with a routine 3-0 Premier League victory, he will be furious with Manchester City’s shock 2-1 defeat to Lyon as they kicked off their Champions League campaign.

Guardiola said at the weekend, following the walkover against Fulham, that he would be going over his side’s mistakes – bad passes, extra touches – with them in their team meeting on Sunday.

The Catalan is a control freak and has pulled together an army of staff – coaches, nutritionists, player support officers – to ensure his squad are in the best possible position to perform to their best.

So it will be doubly painful for the City boss, serving a touchline ban, to have watched his side beaten from high in the stands, unable to patrol the touchline and shout at his players, or at least to burn off some nervous energy.

It is a shame that no Amazon documentary cameras will be present the next time Guardiola sees his players, in training on Thursday morning.

This is the fourth Champions League match that City have lost in a row, considering they lost a dead rubber to Basel before their bruising encounters with Liverpool. Those Liverpool games are what City have focused on when they turn their minds to Champions League improvement, but it may be helpful to remember here that City were booed off after that game with Basel, and Guardiola told his players they deserved to be.

That will no doubt be the message on Thursday.

City came into this competition with hopes of winning it, and they still will despite this very early set-back. Guardiola and his staff, which certainly includes the talented and well-liked Mikel Arteta, who deputised in the dug-out on Wednesday, have been working on ways to excel on the European stage. 

New passing combinations and changes of position have been drilled into the players’ training sessions, alongside the other general improvements Guardiola has urged of his squad since they returned from their summer holidays, including repeated warnings against complacency. The aim is a semi-final at least.

But on Wednesday night it looked as if City had forgotten what they had done so well last season. It is tempting to put it down to a failure to do ‘the basics’, but after Fabian Delph tried that excuse last season, only to be told by Guardiola that football is more complicated than that, you get the feeling it must be something else.

It is also tempting to drag up some of the usual concerns that accompany any losing side. 

Perhaps City miss Kevin De Bruyne, who is still out with a knee injury. Though they have made a fine fist of life without him so far, especially given Guardiola’s tactical tweaks in search of Premier League dominance.

Perhaps their failure to sign a deep-lying midfielder in the summer has cost them and will do so again – especially when you see Fernandinho struggle up against a very muscular and pacy Lyon midfield, particularly Tanguy Ndombele, who City have scouted. 

Perhaps they were complacent here, expecting merely to turn up and win against a side that have started the French season poorly. Although given Guardiola’s repeated reminders and constant tactical ploys designed to keep his players on their toes, that is unlikely.

Perhaps they really do struggle when teams take the game to them, and perhaps domestic opposition should do it more often (though the latter is a debate for another day). City saw Shakhtar Donetsk and Napoli play their own no-concessions game at the Etihad Stadium last season, though they found enough in their own locker to win regardless.

Tonight, though, they did not. Tonight there was something not quite right, and they were punished for their mistakes. Fernandinho gave the ball away twice, and twice the visitors scored immediately afterwards. It did not help that Delph produced an even bigger shocker for Lyon’s first.

Fernandinho was not the only guilty party in the sloppy stakes. Despite the verdict from one City fan at half-time – “terrible, disgusting” – the Blues were not themselves, but not dreadful in the opening 45 minutes.

They could not play out from the back as seamlessly as they usually do, due to an astute Lyon press, but they did find ways to get in behind, only for their attacking players to lack the required spark when they were called upon. 

Arteta has proven his worth to Guardiola and to City since joining the staff in 2016, whether on the training pitch or giving orders during matches, but he was left with the daunting task of giving the half-time pep talk as his boss, banned from the dressing room too, sat with his family.

Leroy Sane was brought off the bench to shake things up shortly after the break, and he did, in part. His left-wing wriggling set up Bernardo Silva to pull one back, but City could not use their remaining time to fashion an equaliser.

There were chances for the hosts, but then again there was a big one for Lyon at 0-2, too. 

Article continues below

In many ways this was similar to City’s poor results in the opening months of Guardiola’s reign; their passing was not crisp enough and their mistakes were ruthlessly punished. That was understandable at the time but slightly more worrisome now.

And after Hoffenheim and Shakhtar drew their opening game earlier on Wednesday, City find themselves bottom of the group they are widely expected to win. 

They may well still do that, and they certainly have the quality and the nous to do so. But while City have been working hard on ideas designed to take them all the way to the final in Madrid next June, this will serve as a timely reminder that there is a long way to go before that. Guardiola’s next team talk will be lively.

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What does the next decade hold for the Man City model? – football news

What next for Manchester City? Both on the pitch and off it, they are in an enviable position. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, contracted for another three seasons, City can hope for more of the stylish, record-breaking football that delivered the fifth league title.

And having become self-sufficient as a business, turning a profit every season since 2014-15, the possibilities for City and its affiliated clubs across the world are endless.

But while the club says it has quadrupled its global fan base since 2010, Guardiola’s team will have to continue winning titles if they are to attract even more new fans and usher in the next major phase of the Abu Dhabi era.

City’s decision makers insist they do not want to spend £200m on one player – despite the fact that they could quite easily manage it – and that is the approach to future development projects.

“We have planning permission to expand the Etihad Stadium, we will see the stadium expand at some point, where that is in the next 10-year journey is just not possible to say,” says Pete Bradshaw, director of infrastructure and estates. “We’ll expand it when it’s the right thing to do for our football club, for our fans and our business, it has to meet the whole criteria of getting things right, we’re not going to expand the stadium for the sake of it.”

Instead, more modest projects are in the works for the acres of land around the Etihad; Manchester Metropolitan University will build a new faculty next to the stadium that will bring 3,000 full-time students to the area. City are also redeveloping the Ashton Canal route that links the stadium to the city, building or converting old mills into new apartments and freshening up an area that has fallen into disrepair.

It is a similar story in terms of global outlook; while many had expected a big CFG push into China, to either acquire or launch a brand new club, the realities have been different.

“If you look at the Chinese Super League, it went through a period of high inflation and enormous investment in player transfers, which brought up the valuation of clubs to numbers that we felt weren’t realistic, and we started looking at alternative ways,” Omar Berrada, chief operating officer, says. “It’s a market we are present in, we just haven’t made the level of investment that we have made, for example, in New York.”

City quote

Berrada says the club are “open” to a New York-style expansion into a new territory, but only in the right conditions.

These new ventures are designed to develop local communities as well as to make money and spread the word of the CFG, and ultimately City.

“We used to laugh and joke when you used to see all the Scandinavians at Liverpool and a lot of tourists at United taking photographs,” says Kevin Parker, general secretary of the official supporters’ club. “We used to say that will never be us but the reality was they never wanted to come and see us because we weren’t successful. Now they’re part and parcel of what happens.”

The pursuit of new fans poses challenges; not only in attracting and retaining their support, but doing so without overlooking, or at least annoying, loyal fans that have been going to games for decades.

City’s determination to break new ground – they have an Official Robot Partner, the only one in football – opens them up to brickbats from rival fans and sometimes their own.

The club strives to offer supporters new services and opportunities, including the ‘City Square’ entertainment zone outside the stadium on matchdays and free wi-fi throughout the Etihad, and are currently in the midst of improving their communication with supporters regarding a range of issues. Yet for many fans, all of that is undone when ticket prices go up.

City quote

Prices rose again in May but many fans did not complain because of the relatively small amounts involved. Others, however, asked why such a profitable club needs to put prices up at all, especially if it’s a couple of pounds per game. Is it that simple?

“It isn’t,” Berrarda says. “I think you have to look at the wider view of our ticket pricing. We still have the lowest season ticket price in the Premier League, we’ve had that £250 ticket since 2009-10, I think since then only once we didn’t have the lowest price, when Stoke was £5 cheaper.

“We also need to continue growing, we need to continue also ensuring that the costs, which have an organic inflation rate, are covered, but we are utterly convinced that what we put for the fans in terms of the ticket prices but also in terms of the football, it’s definitely the best price:quality ratio in the Premier League.

“I do think we are where we should be and our fans understand that.”

Article continues below

Certainly, as long as City keep winning with style there will be few complaints, no matter the issue.

“A friend of mine went to the Huddersfield game and had an issue getting a pie or a pint,” Parker says. “She likes to complain but we won 6-1 so she said she wouldn’t be complaining because it was so good! She would have complained if we’d lost 2-1! That’s the nature of football fans.”

And if City do continue winning with style, the City Football Group will surely be set for another successful decade.

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Guardiola ‘happy’ with Sane attitude despite dropping him from Man City squad – football news

Pep Guardiola insists he is happy with Leroy Sane’s attitude after leaving the winger out of his squad for Manchester City’s 2-1 win against Newcastle on Saturday.

Goal understands that Sane had been dropped because Guardiola is unhappy with his focus, and that omitting him from the squad will help get him back on track.

Guardiola had suggested during pre-season that Sane was not at the required level to start matches, but insisted ahead of the 1-1 draw at Wolves last weekend that the German had begun training well again.

However, sources close to Guardiola have indicated that he was disappointed with Sane’s late cameo against Wolves, as well as his subsequent efforts in training.

In comments that appeared on City’s Twitter feed on Saturday evening, the City boss confirmed that Sane had been dropped, rather than missing out through injury, and said he hopes the German “can be an important player” for the club this season.

Guardiola was unwilling to criticise the 22-year-old in his post-match press conference, insisting that he has so many forwards that one had to miss out.

“Last game Phil Foden was not in the squad and it was so sad for Phil, and I’m so sad for Leroy now. But we have a squad, we have six strikers and I decided to play with two strikers, we have two wingers plus another one on the bench and that’s why we decided this game he wouldn’t be there.

“In the next games he will be ready to play.”

Asked directly if he was happy with Sane’s commitment, the Catalan replied, “Yes”, before insisting he had no serious concerns about the winger’s performance at Molineux.

“He played 10 minutes, he tried. He was not precise but he tried. They convince me, I am satisfied from the moment they run. Mistakes without the ball, taking decisions is part of the process.”

Article continues below

Sane had to make do with three cameo appearances from the bench before being dropped on Saturday, while he was brought off at half-time in the Community Shield at the start of August.

Sane was cut from the Germany squad for this summer’s World Cup by Joachim Low, with the winger’s attitude believed to be one factor in his manager’s decision.

 

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