Monday, April 22, 2024

SPORTS | 29-03-2024 05:22

Sergio Agüero wants consistent criteria for use of VAR in football

Former Independiente, Manchester City and Argentina star Sergio Agüero reminisces about winning an Olympic gold medal and tips wonderkid Claudio Echeverri to do well at his former club.

Health issues may have forced Sergio Agüero into retirement from professional football in 2022, but the former Independiente, Manchester City and Argentina star and ambassador remains as close to the game as ever.

Agüero was extremely vocal in his criticisms of refereeing in the Argentine top flight following March's controversial 2-2 draw between Barracas Central and Independiente. ‘Kun’ used social media to clash with Pablo Toviggino after the Argentine Football Association (AFA) treasurer had slammed Rojo coach – and Sergio’s long-time national team-mate – Carlos Tevez for his post-match comments. And while tempers have cooled somewhat since that episode, retired striker insists that changes need to be made in the way local games are officiated using the now-ubiquitous video technologies.

“Argentina has a huge issue with how the VAR is employed, that's the core of the matter,” he explained in response to a query from the Times on the matter.

“I keep talking about it during streams because I just can't understand why they're unable to use it effectively. They meddle with it when there's no reason for VAR to come into play, and when it's direly needed, it's ignored.

“Some games see VAR technicians using a set of criteria that is completely different from the next game's. I think they should see how other leagues like the Premier [League] have implemented it and take a page out of their book.”

One player ‘Kun’ is looking forward to seeing more of in the Copa de la Liga is River Plate wonderkid Claudio Echeverri.

The 18-year-old phenomenon will be moving at the end of the year to one of Agüero’s old clubs, Manchester City, joining Julián Álvarez in England. And while Echeverri still has precious first-team experience under his belt, one City legend backs him to take the challenge in his stride.

“He's still young but he's got the potential to become an established player in Europe. I've seen him play for Argentina's youth squads and Claudio left a lasting impression,” Agüero stated.

“He's made it all the way to River Plate's main squad this season. Echeverri has great field awareness, a solid [shot], flair, a knack for assisting and scoring. He's making it to City with even less professional experience than Julian, so he'll need more time for adaptation, but a good signing, nonetheless.”

The 2008 Olympic Games gold medallist is also looking forward to the Paris Games, where he helped a star-studded Argentina triumph alongside greats Juan Román Riquelme and Lionel Messi – who could yet, schedule permitting, go for gold once more in the City of Lights this winter.

“The Olympic Games are a unique experience,” he added.

“I have unforgettable memories of our run for gold. It's a different type of competition, but an intense one at that. I was lucky enough to have a great team with Leo as the leader – seeing pictures of us back then, with the gold medal hanging around our necks... it's a rush.

“I think Argentina has a very solid foundation to take on the tournament. Leo's presence [or absence] is his own choice. He can choose his own path. But there are other professional commitments and fixtures, so it's no simple decision.”

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Dan Edwards

Dan Edwards


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