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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 31, 2006

Atletico sign Argentine prodigy Aguero

MADRID, May 3O (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have signed Argentine striker Sergio Aguero from Independiente on a six-year contract, the Primera Liga club said on Tuesday.

Spanish media reported that Atletico would pay a fee in the region of 20 million euros ($25.75 million) for the 17-year-old who is rated one of the most exciting prospects in Argentina.

Atletico said they had closed the deal with Independiente and that the player would be presented to the media after undergoing a medical.

If the figures are correct Aguero would become Atletico's most expensive player.

The club's previous biggest signings were Christian Vieri and Juninho who both cost reported fees of $19.3 million in 1997, the Italian striker moving from Juventus and the Brazilian midfielder from Middlesbrough.

Aguero has made a huge impact in his first professional season, narrowly missing out on selection for Argentina's World Cup squad after coach Jose Pekerman resisted popular pressure to include him.

Diego Maradona told Spanish television station Cuatro on Monday that he believed Aguero was on a par with Barcelona's Argentine forward Lionel Messi.

'The fact that people haven't seen much of him in Europe means he hasn't got the exposure that Messi has had,' Maradona said. 'But Aguero is just as good.'

It was a busy day for Atletico who also signed Greek international fullback Georgios Seitaridis and Portuguese midfielder Costinha from Dynamo Moscow.

Seitaridis, a member of the Greek side that won Euro 2004, has agreed a four-year contract, while Costinha, who won the Champions League and UEFA Cup with Porto, has agreed a two-year deal.

Atletico have undergone a major overhaul since finishing a disappointing 10th in the Primera Liga this season.

They have appointed Mexican Javier Aguirre, who led unfancied Osasuna into the Champions League with a record-equalling fourth-place finish, to replace Pepe Murcia as coach.

They have brought in ex-Real Sociedad coach Jose Maria Amorrortu and former Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch. They also signed Portuguese central defender Ze Castro and Argentine left back Mariano Pernia.

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