How does Sergio Aguero compare to Europe's elite number nines?

Dom Farrell

London, June 2: Sergio Aguero might struggle for somewhere to put his birthday cards, given his living room cabinets are liberally decorated with hat-trick balls and man-of-the-match trophies.

But if the social media window into the home life of Manchester City's all-time leading scorer has shown he is unlikely to be celebrated for his approach to interior design any time soon, fans can relish one of the modern game's elite goal-getters soon returning to action.

Aguero brought up a double landmark at the end of January - completing a record 12th Premier League hat-trick with his 250th City goal in a 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa.

Eric Brook's previous best mark of 177 was overhauled in a Champions League win at Napoli in 2017 and, as he turns 32, Aguero has considerable daylight between himself and the rest in the club record books.

Alan Shearer, whose hat-trick mark he surpassed, is still the division's leading scorer by some distance with 260, although Wayne Rooney (208) in second and third-placed Andy Cole (187) are vulnerable to Aguero, who is fourth on 180.

Going back to when he first moved to Atletico Madrid from Independiente as a teenager, Aguero has 254 league goals in 376 starts across LaLiga and the Premier League.

Since joining City in 2011-12, his top-flight haul places him seventh among all players in Europe's top five leagues.

Naturally, Lionel Messi (319) and Cristiano Ronaldo (287) are way ahead over that period, but how does Aguero compare to the best of the rest?

Using Opta data, we compared Messi's Argentina colleague with a group of his contemporaries who might also lay claim to being the finest out-and-out number nines of their era.

Record in Europe's top five leagues since 2011-12

GOALS

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - 180

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Saint-Etienne, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal) - 182

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) -139

Edinson Cavani (Napoli, Paris Saint-Germain) - 190

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Milan, PSG, Manchester United) - 161

Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 136

Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund, Bayern Munich) - 223

Luis Suarez (Liverpool Barcelona) - 207

Like Aguero, a striker to have thrived despite the particular demands Pep Guardiola places upon his centre forward is Bayern star Robert Lewandowski. He is out in front within this elite group and showing no signs of slowing down. Luis Suarez is the only other man through the 200 barrier during the period in question, which Messi and Ronaldo handily obliterated.

MINUTES PER GOAL

Aguero - 106.9

Aubameyang - 130.8

Benzema - 146.5

Cavani - 110.4

Ibrahimovic - 101.3

Kane - 120.6

Lewandowski - 106.4

Suarez - 114.4

While he is outscored by an esteemed handful of his counterparts, few can match Aguero when it comes to efficiency. His 106.9 goals per minute is another all-time Premier League best (for players with a minimum of 20 goals) and is almost identical to Lewandowski's figure. Zlatan Ibrahimovic sits atop this metric - as the man himself would no doubt expect - thanks largely to a brutally prolific four-year spell at PSG.

SHOT CONVERSION PERCENTAGE

Aguero - 18.2

Aubameyang - 20.1

Benzema - 18.2

Cavani - 21.1

Ibrahimovic - 18.7

Kane - 18

Lewandowski - 19.8

Suarez - 18.6

There is little to choose between them here, although Aguero ranking second-bottom is a little surprising given his superb goals-per-minute record. Within the group, only Harry Kane scores with a lower percentage of his shots. Edinson Cavani, who has dutifully performed in the shadow of other star turns in Paris, is the most lethal.

ASSISTS

Aguero - 46

Aubameyang - 46

Benzema - 71

Cavani - 31

Ibrahimovic - 50

Kane - 20

Lewandowski - 43

Suarez - 88

Aguero's involvement in City's all-round game has unquestionably improved under Guardiola and he is closing in on a half-century of assists - matching Aubameyang's number in 31 fewer appearances.

Playing alongside Messi and Ronaldo looks a good way to feather your stats in this regard, with only CR7's old Madrid foil Karim Benzema coming close to Suarez, the S in the MSN forward line that delighted under Luis Enrique. Ibrahimovic might not be noted for his selflessness as Suarez and Benzema are, but he again ranks impressively, while Lewandowski's all-round game is to the fore once more.

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