Last night, the world witnessed in amazement one of the most awe-inspiring debuts in the history of Barclays Premier League. The record signing for the richest club in the world stepped foot on the football pitch in front of an expectant crowd and put on a dazzling performance to leave everybody in awe. After the referee blew for the final whistle, the name of Kun Aguero had entered the Man City folklore , well the Premier League folklore to be fair.
An “I was there moment” for the City supporters, as Mancini’s Blue revolution looks to be finally gathering pace and rapidly so. Many a big name have found the Premier league a tough nut to crack while some have taken their time to adapt to the demands of the English game, however for the little Argentine it was a piece of cake. Sergio Aguero’s blitz has dumbfounded many an expert, for those who doubted his caliber it was a timely reminder of his undeniable class as he looks to have settled into his surroundings like a duck takes to water. Thirty minutes was all Aguero got to showcase his mettle, Thirty minutes was all that he needed. After half an hour of mesmerizing the home fans and causing heartache to the “Jacks” the five and a half foot man from Argentina appeared the largest player on the pitch as his brief salvo sent shockwaves from Merseyside to the red half of Manchester.
Sergio, nicknamed Kun after his beloved Japanese cartoon character Kum Kum ‘The Menace’, bagged two goals and an assist on his league debut, and it wasn’t just those stats that made it a night to remember. It’s now even more perplexing as to why Mancini decided to name him on the bench and not use him at all in the Manchester Derby, but perhaps it was meant to be this way. Built like an ox but graceful like a ballerina, Aguero has the world under his feet and at City perhaps the chance to take over from his sulky compatriot as the talisman of a rising force in European football.
The stage is set, curtains raised and his arrival has been announced in grand style. The Premier League needs its heroes after the departure of some of its biggest names viz. Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and possibly Carlos Tevez; Aguero could very well turn out to be just that. For now, lets marvel at his irresistible talent, sit back and enjoy the ride.
There have been quite a few other players that left the home fans dazed on their first bow itself. Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable home debuts in the Premier League years:
Fabrizio Ravanelli (Middlesborough) v Liverpool:
Although Ravanelli failed to deliver, and with it dooming Boro to relegation from top flight football, yet his opening day blitz cannot be forgotten as he remains the only player to score a hat trick on debut. The “White feather” along with crowd favorite Juninho wreaked havoc on the Liverpool back four scoring three times, the first was a penalty which the Italian converted calmly while the second a poacher’s tap in from 6 yards out. However, Liverpool turned on the heat and Robbie Fowler gave the Merseyside outfit the lead. But it was Ravanelli’s day as he popped up once again in the crowded Liverpool box to force the ball in via a left footed shot which was hardly timed. The crowd went ballistic and Middlesborough salvaged a point riding on one man’s brilliance. That point earned against the tide couldn’t really help Middlesborough much as they went straight back to the Championship. Ravanelli didn’t really endear himself to the supporters as he sulked his way out of the club criticizing the training facilities at the club and the town in general. The Italian could have taken a leaf out of Juninho’s book who remains a Boro legend to this day, but the silver-haired star was his own person, unaffected and unperturbed by worldly ties.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United) v Bolton Wanderers:
The boy Ronaldo was a relatively unknown quantity before moving to the Theatre of Dreams although his talent was closely monitored by a number of European clubs. After the departure of Beckham from Old Trafford and the move to bring in the Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho fell through, Sir Alex Ferguson gambled on this twinkled toed Portuguese teenager. On the opening day of the 2003-04 season, the Red Devils took on Bolton Wanderers at OT. United took the lead but flattered to deceive. On the hour mark, Sir Alex unleashed the teenage prodigy wearing the legendary no. 7 shirt on an unsuspecting Bolton. What followed were 30 minutes of absolute mayhem on Sam Allerdyce’s Wanderers. The Old Trafford crowd responded to every step over and every trick by the Portuguese sensation as he captured the imagination of every United supporter. Man United won the game 4-0, but for once after the end of a football match, the score line seemed irrelevant, Old Trafford found a new hero and the Premier league its main protagonist.
His name echoed from the terraces of Old Trafford that day, and 8 years on it still feels like yesterday that Cristiano Ronaldo stepped foot onto the Premier League stage only to leave the Red Devils captivated and the opposition flabbergasted. It often happens that a movie fails to deliver on the promise in the promos; this time though Ronnie made sure the fans got their money’s worth.
Wayne Rooney (Everton) v Arsenal:
16 years of age, the boy from Croxteth, Liverpool announced himself on the world stage against high flying Arsenal and the world stared in disbelief. The Gunners were on a 30 game unbeaten run and looked invincible; Wayne Rooney though had other ideas as he went on to become the youngest player ever to score in the Premier League. Coming on late in the second half with the teams tied at 1 goal apiece, Rooney took the fight to the Gunners on his young shoulders and guided his team to an unlikely victory and in the process derailed Arsene Wenger’s men charge towards the Premier league crown. Not only did the teenage sensation score one of the most decorated debut goals in Premier league era but his overall display endeared himself to the boisterous home crowd, it’s a different matter of course that Rooney would go on to eventually break thousands of Everton hearts by moving to Man United. Still, that moment remains etched in the minds of all Premier League fans across the globe, 15 iconic minutes that have defined English football ever since.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool) v Chelsea: (Anfield debut)
Liverpool’s new number 9, a certain Fernando Torres arrived in Merseyside and as is the case with marquee signings, under a lot of scrutiny and expectations. Liverpool’s fortunes were floundering on the domestic front as fans looked towards their Spanish acquisition for a fresh lease of life. ‘El Nino’ responded at the first time of asking. Having made his league debut at Villa in the previous game Torres made his home bow at the biggest sporting arenas in world football – Anfield, against one of the toughest opposition in European football in the form of Chelsea and against one of the shrewdest minds in the game a la “The Special one”, Fernando Torres made all his detractors eat humble pie. A stunning display that lifted the Kop, as supporters found their new leading man. Chelsea’s water-proof defense was run ragged and in particular Ben Haim was given a hiding that virtually ended his short Chelsea career even before it had begun. Torres capped off a special night with a goal to savor as he skipped passed a wretched Ben Haim like he didn’t exist to put Liverpool in front. Though the match ended in a draw, Torres made it a memorable night for legions of Anfield faithful. Yet another extraordinary night at Anfield that had opposition defenders quaking in their boots. How Chelsea could do with the Fernando Torres of that night. The Spaniard was untouchable as superlatives fail to describe his impact; let’s just say Torres walked on water that magical night at Anfield.
Deco (Chelsea) v Portsmouth:
Luiz Felipe Scolari arrived in London as the new manager of Chelsea football club and also brought his compatriot Deco along. Deco’s debut was almost perfect in every sense of the word, as he pulled the strings from the Chelsea midfield against the hapless Pompey who were forced to chase shadows all day long as they failed to get anywhere near the Portuguese magician. Everything Deco touched turned to gold that afternoon as rivals across England feared the worst. He topped it off with a 30 yard wonder goal that crashed past David James and the annihilation was complete. What a way to mark his arrival in English football, for any midfielder! Deco displayed an absolute master class in passing, ball retention and finding gaps where none seemed to exist. It was a pity that Deco’s Chelsea career nose-dived after reaching such dizzy heights on debut as he never really recaptured the magic of the afternoon at the Bridge. It was a loss for the English game that one of the top midfield maestros of this generation never really showcased his full potential on the British Isles.
There a lot of others have made notable debuts and scored at the first opportunity in front of their home crowd, even if the oomph was missing. Fredrico Macheda’s goal against Aston Villa is definitely up there in terms of importance and sheer awesomeness of the strike, even if the Italian hardly had any touches of the ball.
Many of those whose debuts set the stage alight, have since fallen from grace or from favor in the clubs that first let them ply their trades in the big league. But regardless of their current standing, each of them have seared an indelible impression in the minds of those who were fortunate to have watched.