Julian Alvarez proves Pep Guardiola’s Sergio Aguero wrong as Man City hand over 2023 plan – Alex Brotherton


If you thought Julian Alvarez’s hype among Manchester City fans had reached its peak, well, you’d be wrong.

City completed the signing of the 22-year-old Argentina striker on deadline day, much to the delight of City supporters. Highlight reels of Alvarez hitting in goal left, right and center began to do the rounds online when City’s interest was first reported, and it’s fair to say that even the City’s most casual fans have noticed similarities to club legend Sergio Aguero in his game.

Alvarez won’t join his new club until July at the earliest as a loan move to River Plate was a condition of the transfer. But do not worry; la Araña shows no signs that his development will be affected by not immediately connecting with Pep Guardiola & co.

“We can’t replace him,” an emotional Guardiola said after Aguero’s final home game at the end of last season. Well, maybe City can.

River Plate beat Club Atletico Patronato 4-1 in their second match of the season on Wednesday night, after suffering a surprise 1-0 loss to Club Atletico Union in the season opener.

As has become the norm, Alvarez was at the center of everything River Plate did right, scoring a hat-trick within 50 minutes. Yet it wasn’t the fact that he netted the third hat-trick of his still fledgling professional career – his second against Patronato – that sent City Twitter into overdrive. It was the resemblance between his goals and those of Aguero.

Alvarez’s first – an equalizer that River never looked back on – won’t win any awards, but it showed the quick and cunning streak of thinking that City fans have loved in Aguero.

The 22-year-old latched on to a volley cross after losing his marker inside the box. His first touch bounced the ball and gave the goalkeeper a chance to step in. Yet the split second the keeper hesitated allowed Alvarez to deftly nudge the ball past him with his head, his innovative finishing saving his team from a potentially tricky situation.

Aguero, who was watching the match live on Twitch, certainly enjoyed it.

“Here it is… Alvarez, goal!! Great goal from Alvarez,” Kun shouted.

If Alvarez’s fly-half showed his poaching instincts, then his second was a carbon copy of Aguero’s signature goal.

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Running over the centre-back’s shoulder, Alvarez chased a through ball that sent him into the right corner of the six-yard box. Rather than look up and assess the situation, the striker – with hardly any recoil – shot for the first time into the corner near the top, catching the goalkeeper off guard and putting his team in front.

It was a stunning goal, a goal City fans have seen Aguero achieve many times over the years. The goal against Queen’s Park Rangers, the strikes at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge in 2013 and the flare he produced against Liverpool in 2019. Very few strikers in world football can produce such venomous and accurate shots for the first time, but Alvarez can.

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Five minutes into the second half, Alvarez scored his hat trick. Once again he ran over the shoulder of the same centre-back and sent a rocket for the first time into the low corner. His last goal wasn’t quite as Aguero-esque as his second, but he still released that same celebration which, albeit unintentional, evoked fond memories of City’s all-time leading goalscorer.

It’s probably unwise – and perhaps a bit unfair – to draw comparisons between Alvarez and Aguero. One scored 260 goals in ten trophy-laden years at City. The other is only 22 years old and has not yet set foot in Manchester.

But when he scores goals like he did on Wednesday, it’s hard not to get a little carried away. Regardless of whether or not he matches Aguero’s achievements in sky blue, one thing is certain: City are getting one hell of a striker.

What did you think of Julian Alvarez’s hat-trick? Follow our Town Is ours writer Alex Brotherton on Twitter to join the discussion and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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