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On the face of things, the headline 'Aguero: Refs favour British players' calls out for some attention. It certainly drew a click from me. With Manchester City the subject of a rather controversial penalty call in the early going at Craven Cottage last weekend -- one that forced them to chase the win for 75 long minutes -- some criticism of the refereeing was inevitable, and I was fully prepared to roll my eyes at Aguero's silliness and move on with my life.
And yet... well, here are the quotes in question:
I try not to get involved with problems involving referees. There will always be mistakes for any team and he got the decision [on the Fulham penalty] wrong, but that can happen in any game. All we can do is not let that get to us and just keep on playing our game.
Yes, always. It happens everywhere. There is a little bit of privilege with players who come from that country, but that is normal. We just play our game, and the referee's job is to know who is tricking him and who is not.
Maybe, yes. It can happen, but I don't think it did here. If it does, it's not good for anyone. Here in England, there are almost as many foreign players as English players and it's not right that some have a privilege that others don't.
Obviously, those last two quotes are in response to questions. According to ESPN, the source, said questions were 'Do English players have it easier than foreign ones?' and ' do you think referees are suspicious of foreign players?'
Does nobody else find this ridiculous? A player's asked about a subject, acts diplomatically, then gets pressed further on the issue and equivocates, from which we generate a ludicrous headline. Is it reasonable for journalists to choose which stories they write and try to bait players to follow the narrative? I'm going with no. Aguero doesn't deserve this press, and whoever wrote that headline doesn't deserve their job.