Argentine striker Sergio Aguero is out of the World Cup after suffering a muscle tear in the 3-2 victory over Nigeria, a Buenos Aires newspaper reported on Thursday.
Aguero’s injury, which could not be immediately confirmed by team spokesmen, would be a major blow to the South Americans’ campaign to capture a third World Cup, this time on the soil of their great rivals Brazil.
“This morning the worst news was confirmed. He has a tear and won’t be able to play any more in the cup,” Clarin said. The Manchester City forward, part of Argentina’s so-called “Fab Four” of strikers, was taken off during the first half of the match against Nigeria that gave them top spot in Group F.
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Coach Alejandro Sabella said afterwards he had a muscle problem. Argentine TV channel TyC Sports said the tear was on a muscle in Aguero’s left leg. More information was expected at an Argentine training session and news conference in Belo Horizonte at the end of Thursday afternoon.
Nicknamed “Kun” after a Japanese cartoon character, the 26-year-old is a close friend of national captain Lionel Messi and is also the father of Diego Maradona’s first grandson. Argentina next play in Sao Paulo on July 1, a last 16 knockout game against Switzerland. Fellow strikers Ezequiel Lavezzi or Rodrigo Palacio could take Aguero’s place.
“We have forwards of the same style as Aguero and others, with a different style, like Lavezzi, who came in and handled himself well on the wings and helped us cover spaces,” Sabella said after the Nigeria game, where Lavezzi replaced Aguero.