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SPORTS | 01-06-2021 10:43

Agüero hoping for Messi partnership after signing for Barcelona

Sergio Agüero says he is hoping to have the "pleasure" of playing alongside Lionel Messi, after signing a two-year deal with Barcelona.

Sergio Agüero said Monday that he was hoping to have the "pleasure" of playing alongside Lionel Messi after signing a two-year deal with Barcelona.

Agüero will become a Barça player once his contract with Manchester City expires at the end of June, bringing an end to a decade at the Premier League champions, and his new team have slapped a 100-million-euro (US$122 million) buy-out clause on the 32-year-old.

However he is still not sure that Messi will be his teammate next season as the club captain is yet to sign an extension to his current contract which expires next month.

"Let's hope we play together ... what happens with Leo is down to decisions that he will make with the club," Agüero told reporters at the Camp Nou after he was unveiled on the famous pitch. "Obviously it will be a pleasure if we play together. If he continues here, which I think he will, we will try to do our best for the club as he always has done."

Barça will hope Agüero's arrival in Catalonia helps to convince his friend and fellow Argentine to stay, as the club faces up to declining performances on the pitch and a worrying financial situation.

Ronald Koeman's side finished third in La Liga this past season and have debts of 1.2 billion euros (US$1.46 billion). 

They were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Paris Saint-Germain, and could yet face sanctions from UEFA for refusing to back out of the short-lived European Super League project.

Last week club President Joan Laporta said that talks for Messi's new contract were "going well," and on Monday insisted that Agüero's signing was part of a broader Barça rebuild.

"The signing of Agüero is for Agüero. We want to build a competitive team and obviously we also want Leo to stay, we have already told him this," Laporta said.

Agüero's signing for Barça comes two days after he missed out on winning the Champions League with City, Pep Guardiola's side losing this season's final to Chelsea at the end of a season disrupted by injury.

His final appearance for City was as a substitute for Raheem Sterling late in the final in Porto as the newly-crowned Premier League champions tried in vain to win Europe's top prize for the first time.

He leaves City as their all-time record goalscorer with 260 goals, and with the most goals scored for a single club in Premier League history – 184 goals in 275 appearances.

"Leaving aside last season, I had nine very good years at City," said Agüero.

"A knee issue kept me out for a few months, I recovered, I got Covid ... but in the last four months I've felt very good physically."

His move to Barcelona had been long in the offing, with Guardiola saying a week ago that he was close to a deal with the Catalan giants.

He will participate in this year's Copa América, which on Monday was moved from Colombia and his home country Argentina to Brazil.

"If they have made that decision it is because things are not going well in Argentina, there have been a lot of infections over the last few days and many deaths. I think it was a good decision," said Agüero.

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