Sergio Aguero placed the ball on the spot and took a few steps back. No mistakes this time. The penalty was despatched with effortless, nerveless precision into the corner of the Burnley net and there it was.
Goal No 177 for Manchester City, level with Eric Brook’s club record that has stood for the last 78 years.
Brook’s career was cut short by a car crash that left him with a fractured skull in 1939 after 494 appearances for City.
Sergio Aguero netted a club-record 177th goal for Manchester City in their win over Burnley
The Argentina striker has now moved level with Eric Brook’s record that has stood for 78 years
In Aguero’s case, a road accident in Amsterdam three weeks ago merely delayed the inevitable. A broken rib has healed remarkably quickly and here at the Etihad, just half an hour into his return, he claimed his place in the history books. It comes after 262 games for City.
There will be some debate about referee Roger East’s decision to award the penalty in the first place for goalkeeper Nick Pope’s challenge on Bernardo Silva.
There could even have been some doubt about Aguero putting up his hand to take the spot-kick. After all, on his last appearance for Pep Guardiola’s side he blew a chance to equal Brook’s record when he had a penalty saved by Shakhtar Donetsk keeper Andriy Pyatov.
But it takes more than that to keep Aguero down. Once he stepped forward to take responsibility again, it always felt as though the ball was always going to finish in the back of the net.
Brook’s (above) career was cut short by a car crash that left him with a fractured skull in 1939
It was perhaps appropriate that he converted it in the same goal where he scored his first for City, a close-range tap-in on August 15, 2011, nine minutes after coming off the bench for his debut against Swansea City.
And, of course, the same end where his most famous goal for City was scored at the dramatic climax of that season in injury-time against QPR to clinch the club’s first title in 44 years. That moment will be etched into City’s history as deep as the record itself.
That honour will soon be Aguero’s alone. He had several chances to claim it against Burnley before departing in the 76th minute, striding off in the teeming rain to a hero’s ovation.
But it will come. Maybe as soon as Wolves in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday or at West Brom next week. He will only be level with Brook for so long; two men connected by a simple statistic but otherwise generations, and worlds, apart.
Aguero scored after Nick Pope was adjudged to have fouled Bernardo Silva in the penalty box
Brook was the son a Yorkshire coalminer who joined City in a joint £6,000 deal with his Barnsley teammate Fred Tilson in 1928. After the accident ended his career because he was no longer able to head the ball, he ran a pub in Halifax, drove coaches and even operated a crane before his early death at the age of 57.
Aguero may have been born into poverty in the Buenos Aires slums, but he has ascended to football royalty; the one-time son-in-law of Diego Maradona and best friend of Lionel Messi.
The 29-year-old cost £38million when he signed from Atletico Madrid six years ago and would cost substantially more in the current market. There will be no need to work again when he hangs up his boots.
His goals have been priceless for City and the Abu Dhabi project. When uncertainty surrounded his future at the Etihad after an awkward first season under Pep Guardiola, chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was unequivocal in his message that Aguero would not be sold under any circumstances.
He remains City’s talisman, the man for the big occasions. And now he is their record goalscorer as well.