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May 23, 2011

Aguero asks to leave Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid striker Sergio Aguero has revealed that he wants to leave the club and has asked the Rojiblancos to consider offers for him.

• Forum: Where should Aguero go?

Aguero, 22, has been one of Atletico's star performers since moving to the Vicente Calderon from Independiente in 2006 but has now expressed his desire to leave the club after five seasons.

The Argentina frontman spent an hour and a half at the club's stadium on Monday meeting the cub's hierarchy, before leaving without addressing the waiting media.

Aguero, who has scored 74 La Liga goals in five seasons at Atletico, then revealed on Twitter and his official website that that he has asked the club to consider offers.

"I said long ago that when I wanted to go, I would say publicly. And the time has come," Aguero said on his official website. "So I keep my word and here I am. I find it hard to leave Atletico. It hurts and saddens me."

In a lengthy statement on his official website, Aguero revealed that Atletico were aware that he would want to leave in June when he signed his last contract and he insisted he wants to leave the club for sporting not economic reasons.

"I've thought long and hard and I am convinced that I must be true to myself," Aguero said. "I do not think I put a ceiling on the ability to keep learning, to keep growing. After five intense years, this stage for me personally is over and I have to give way to a new one.

"I'm about to turn 23 and I have everything before me. Suffice it to say that this is not an economic issue but strictly a sporting one. So I want to clearly express my appreciation to the club for the efforts they have made for giving me a salary that equates with the largest clubs in the world.

"I want to say also that this decision has been maturing for some time. The issue was discussed and agreed with Atletico last year when I was renewing my contract. I wanted to sign as a way to give back to the club for all the support they have given me. Had I not done so, they might not have received any more for my transfer.

"I received then a promise that the club would not stand in my way if I wanted to leave this summer. Therefore, in line with that commitment and my decision, I have asked them to listen to any offers they receive for me from different clubs.''

The forward also praised Atletico's supporters, adding: "For the fans, my eternal gratitude. I'm not trying to be original or say the politically correct. I'd rather say what I feel, beyond all other considerations because I know that the only way they will understand is if I do from my heart. That was the way I felt when I have talked all these years, with sincere love and affection. You are already part of my identity."

Aguero has had no shortage of admirers in recent years, with the likes of Chelsea, Inter Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid all believed to have show interest. But it is Los Blancos who have been most heavily linked with a swoop in the Spanish press.

Real boss Jose Mourinho has often repeated his desire to add an extra striker to his squad this season and with the club unlikely to make Emmanuel Adebayor's loan move permanent, Aguero is reportedly being lined up to join compatriots Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria at the Bernabeu.

A move across Madrid would be one of the most controversial in recent memory and would see Aguero join the likes of Jose Antonio Reyes and Bernd Schuster in having played for both sides in the Spanish capital.

The Argentina ace signed a contract extension in January, though he admitted at the time that it did not mean he would not look for a move away from the club at the end of the season.

"I'm staying here because I want to,'' Aguero told the club's website at the time. "The club has always treated me very well. I am very happy, and that's why I renewed my contract.

"If in June, the club and I decide that it is best that I find a new club, it will be a decision we make together, but for now I am only thinking about trying to get into the Champions League with this team."

Real are certainly one of the few clubs in Europe who could affor Aguero's €45 million release clause, though Atletico claimed last month that another clause was inserted saying that the striker couldn't join their city rivals.

"I received offers for Forlan and Aguero from Real Madrid, but Aguero will not join Madrid," Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin told Onda Cero in April.

"We agreed on a buy-out clause of €45 million when he signed his contract extension. However, we also agreed that he couldn't' join Real Madrid - not even if they meet his minimum release clause."

Aguero once claimed he would never play for a team starting with the letter 'R', in reference to Racing and Real Madrid, the two bitter rivals of the clubs he has played for so far in his career.

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