Sunday 18 August 2019

Book review


SERGIO 'KUN' Aguero is the latest in a line of sportsmen to put his name to an autobiography despite only being in his mid-twenties. At least, on the face of it, the publication, spanning a whopping 540 pages, looks to be the Manchester City star taking us on a journey through his short life.

In reality, despite the title, 'Born to Rise: My Story', this is more of a biography. The author, Daniel Frescó, to give him credit, spent five years putting this book together and it includes interviews with all the important people in the development of the young Argentine.

Ferscó is a journalist from the same South American country as the footballer. The book was initially written in Spanish and published in Argentina and Spain (home of Aguero's first European club Atletico Madrid) before being translated to English.

Luckily, the offering has been altered professionally. It's done in such a way that the English is excellent but also leaves the reader in no doubt that this has been published with a heavy South American influence.

For his part, Aguero is quoted throughout the book. However, many of the quotes are rehashed. Frescó leans heavily on 'Kun's' interviews and musings from the specific moment in time that the event took place.

Otherwise the author brings the reader fresh words from his parents, his family, his friends and all those who made the talented attacker the player he is today. Even Lionel Messi has his moment, delivering the foreword to add a bit of gravitas, although it's hard to imagine the Barcelona superstar referring to anyone as 'a really sound guy'.

Ferscó not only takes the reader through the life of 'Kun' but starts the publication by looking at his parents, Leo and Adriana. The journey through Aguero's life is punctuated by regular flash-forwards to moments throughout his professional career when he scored a vital goal or did something special.

Sometimes these interludes make sense and tie in perfectly with what the author is trying to say. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, meaning random matches years later are plonked in the middle of the text and only serve as a detrimental break of the reader's flow.

One interesting aspect of the book is Aguero's belief that playing competitively at a young age aided his development. Nowadays, the powers that be seem to believe that taking away the competitive element from under-age games is the way to improve the level of play. That's not how it works in Argentina.

'Kun' talks in depth about playing up to six matches a weekend for all different teams, competing for the glory of victory and the winners' trophy from as young as eight years of age. He's very much of the opinion that this schooling helped him in later years and these musings are some of the more interesting passages of the book.

The general sports fan might buy this book to learn more about the life and times of one of the game's best footballers. The story is certainly comprehensive but it's not the most spectacular read.

Supporters of clubs with whom Aguero has played will no doubt love every minute of it. He speaks highly of both his former professional clubs, Independiente and Atletico Madrid, as well as current side Manchester City.

A word of warning for any Liverpool or Manchester United fans that might think it would be a good idea to get inside the mind of one of their rivals' greats. Steer clear, as the last couple of chapters will make excruciating reading for reasons you might guess.


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