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Jun 5, 2006

Aguero shrugs off weight of expectation at Atletico

MADRID, June 5 (Reuters) - Argentine striker Sergio Aguero shrugged off the weight of expectation surrounding his arrival at Atletico Madrid as he was officially presented as a player on Monday.

The 18-year-old, rated as one of Argentina's most exciting prospects, was bought from Independiente for a reported fee of between $25.75 million and $29.61 million, making him one of the most expensive teenagers in world football.

He was mobbed by around 200 Atletico fans at the airport when he landed in Madrid on Sunday, and was greeted by a further 1,000 chanting supporters at his presentation in the Vicente Calderon stadium.

'All the attention scared me a little at first but I am relaxed about the pressure. I will just go out and try to do my best for the team,' Aguero told a news conference.

'I am delighted to be here at a big club and hope we can take them to the top. I hope we can end up champions.'

When asked why he chose Atletico ahead of reported interest from Bayern Munich Aguero added: 'Bayern never came for me. When I heard Atletico were interested in me I told my representative to do the deal as quickly as possible.'

Short and stocky in build the teenager appeared bemused at first in front of journalists, but warmed to the fans outside cheerily waving to them and signing shirts.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo said: 'We have signed him for six seasons into a young team and wish him the very best of luck.

'He is going to be a big star, the fans will love him and I am sure he is going to show Spain what a great player he is.'

Aguero, known as 'El Kun' after a Japanese comic book hero, became the youngest person to have played in the Argentine first division when he debuted with Independiente in July 2003 aged 15.

He was part of the Argentina side that won the World Youth Cup in 2005.

Atletico have carried out a dramatic overhaul of the sports arm of their club since finishing a disappointing 10th in the Primera Liga last 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.

On the playing front, apart from Aguero, have signed Greek international full back Yourkas Seitaridis and Portuguese midfielder Costinha from Dynamo Moscow, Portuguese central defender Ze Castro and Argentine left back Mariano Pernia.

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