Manchester City will be without one of its biggest stars on Saturday when the team meets Chelsea in what could prove a pivotal matchup. Striker Sergio Aguero will miss the match that could catapult Manchester City into a decisive lead in the Premier League standings because of a broken rib sustained in a car accident in the Netherlands.
On Friday, Man City boss Pep Guardiola confirmed the incident that occurred Thursday, noting Aguero was traveling by taxi to the airport when the accident occurred. Aguero, 29, had been in the country on his day off to attend a concert headlined by Colombian singer Maluma.
“He’s okay — the most important thing,” Guardiola said (via the BBC), adding, however, “he cannot play against Chelsea on Saturday.”
Guardiola, who did not announce a timeline for Aguero’s return, said he’s not angered with Aguero for traveling because if was his day off and “days off are to be happy.”
“I want the players to be happy. Always, I am a manager who doesn’t like to train every day,” Guardiola, who played pro for nearly two decades, continued. “I think the players have to rest mentally and physically. They can enjoy their lives. I want my players to have fun. If they decide to go there, they decide to go there. It is okay for me.”
Meanwhile, Argentine national team fans are worried about how long Aguero might be sidelined. According to some reports, the injury could keep the Argentine off the field for two months, which would render him unable to participate in the national team’s final two must-win World Cup qualifiers. The team is set to play Peru on Thursday, followed by its final qualifying game against Ecuador on Oct. 10. Peru stands in fourth place, while Ecuador has fallen to eighth.
Argentina, meanwhile, stands fifth in South America’s World Cup qualifying pool, having only won six of 12 matches so far. To ensure a spot in the 2018 World Cup, or at least their spot in fifth place, which would require them to vie with New Zealand for a spot in the 32-team pool, the country is desperate not to concede any more points, but without Aguero that could prove a much more difficult task, some say.
While Aguero was confoundingly left off previous iterations of the Argentine squad, he got called up in August. Judging from his season so far at Manchester City, he looked poised to make a big impact with the national team next month.
He is in a three-way tie with Manchester United’s Romelu Lakaku and Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata for most goals this season with six. Incidentally, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea compose the top three teams in the Premier League standings this season, sitting in first, second and third respectively, although City only leads United (both teams have 16 points) due to a goal differential. Chelsea, meanwhile, trails with 13 points.
Aguero, who is usually active on social media, has not tweeted or posted anything to Instagram about his injury, although he reportedly spoke to an Argentine radio station, according to Daily Telegraph reporter James Ducker.
“The taxi driver did not see the curve and skid. And when he skidded, we hit the [traffic light] pole,” Aguero reportedly told Radio Metro. “I broke my rib, now I’m resting. It hurts me badly. I’ll be discharged in a little while.”