By Patrick O’Brien
EXCLUSIVE: Diego Maradona says he missed son-in-law Sergio Aguero’s last minute heroics to clinch the Premier League title for Manchester City on Sunday – because of training.
Many would have expected the 51-year-old to be sat in front of a television cheering on striker Aguero – who is married to his daughter Giannina – as his side faced a win-or-bust final match against QPR at the Etihad Stadium.
But Maradona was instead taking training with Al Wasl ahead of their GCC Champions League match against Al Wahda tonight. That didn’t stop the 1986 World Cup winner from wearing a wide smile when he heard the news of the 3-2 win and Aguero’s incredible contribution.
“I asked the score at one point and QPR were 2-1 up, and I was very upset,” he revealed to Sport360°. “Then, in the changing room after we had finished training, I heard what happened and I was absolutely ecstatic. I was so happy, I was smiling from ear to ear. I enjoyed the news with all my heart.”
Calls were then placed to Manchester and Buenos Aires afterwards, as the former Argentina coach rejoiced in Aguero and City’s achievement – the club’s first league triumph for 44 years.
“The whole Maradona family is extremely happy,” added Maradona, known as ‘El Diego’. “I spoke to Sergio and my daughter Giannina, and my grandson Ben. I congratulated them all and we shared the great moment.”
Maradona also claimed that Aguero’s fabulous last-gasp finish proved he is up there with the very best players in the world. The 23-year-old, nicknamed “Kun”, joined Roberto Mancini’s side last summer in a record £38million (Dh224.8m) move from Spanish side Atletico Madrid.
And while Maradona has often stated he’d have been better off moving across the Spanish capital to Real Madrid, he stated Aguero is up there with the best. He also insisted City, who made him a special guest at their crucial derby victory over Manchester United recently, were worthy winners of the title, despite ending on the same points as United.
“Aguero has proved again he is a world-class player, and it takes a true champion to be able to score a winner like that in the 94th minute,” said Maradona. “This win proves Manchester City are a great club, especially to be able to overcome a tough rival as United.”