Nottingham Forest’s Gio Reyna Thanked Sergio Aguero & Manchester City for Giving His Brother Joy 63 Days Before Tragic Death

Published 01/31/2024, 10:48 AM EST

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There are times when you find joy in the sport you love when other things in life aren’t working out so well. As soccer fans, when your favorite club wins a game – or better yet, a championship – you forget about the future and celebrate the occasion. Nottingham Forest FC’s latest January signing, Gio Reyna, had a similar moment with his brother 63 days before he passed away. And the USMNT international had Manchester City and Sergio Aguero to thank for that unique experience.

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There is not a single City fan that will forget Sergio Aguero’s last-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers that won the Sky Blues their Premier League title in the 2011/12 season. It ended a 44-year wait and ensured their rivals, Manchester United, didn’t win the league. However, for Gio Reyna, the moment holds an extra special place in his heart. “One of these days, I really need to say thank you to Sergio Aguero,” he said in a 2020 interview with the Players’ Tribune.

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Growing up in Manchester, when his father Claudio played for the Sky Blues from 2003 to 2007, the Reyna family were staunch City supporters. Three years after moving back to the US, Gio’s brother Jack was diagnosed with stage IV glioblastoma. As he fought cancer, Jack understandably lost energy as time went by. But the last day of the 2011/12 Premier League season brought back a spark in him. And that was what gave Gio Reyna an unforgettable moment.

During his 2020 interview, Reyna recalled City’s final match of the season, where the Sky Blues were 1-2 down in stoppage time. After Edin Dzeko equalized, Sergio Aguero sealed the deal. “You’ve seen the goal. You’ve heard the commentary. ‘AGÜEROOOOOOO!!’ We went crazy in the living room,” explained Reyna. “We were jumping around, shouting, celebrating, and hugging each other. A first league title in 44 years! Won in the most incredible manner.”

He continued, “We looked at each other in disbelief. Suddenly we heard someone gasping for air. It was Jack. He was rolling around on the floor, which came out of nowhere because he barely had any energy left in his body. We got very concerned. For 20 seconds it looked like he couldn’t breathe. Then, slowly, Jack broke into a smile and began to laugh. We realized that he was celebrating the goal. He was just as happy as we were.”

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“I’ll never forget that moment. It was so amazing, so funny, so crazy.” Sadly for the USA international, Jack passed away nine weeks later. However, before the sad demise, he enjoyed his final days with his family in the best way possible. Fast forward to the present, Gio Reyna hopes to get his career back on track.

Gio Reyna will hope to thrive in the Premier League

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Several years ago, Gio Reyna was predicted to be an enormous success for Borussia Dortmund, like Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho. However, revolving managers and injury issues have restricted his game time. Luckily, the nightmare is coming to an end. Nottingham Forest have made an agreement to sign him on loan. The club manager, Nuno Espirito Santos, has tracked him for a long time.

The move comes at the right time as he hopes to strengthen his place in the US national team for the Copa America later this year. In the meantime, it will be interesting to witness Gio Reyna adapt to the speed of the Premier League. And who knows? Maybe playing in the league, like his father did, could give him the opportunity to be the best soccer player-version of himself. After all, that’s what Jack pushed him to be. 

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“Jack was my hero when I was a kid. When I wasn’t around, he’d say nice things about me. When he realized that I was going to be better than he was, he pushed me to become the best I could possibly be.”

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 Do you think a loan move to Nottingham Forest is right for the USA international? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Written by:

Anuj Nikhil Virjiani

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I can't express how deep my passion for the sport runs, especially when it comes to the English Premier League. Over the years, I've dedicated myself to understanding the intricate details of the game, both on and off the field. What's fascinating is that my beloved club is Newcastle United, and I've been on a rollercoaster journey with them, from their triumphant promotion from the second tier to the recent takeover and even their remarkable qualification for the Champions League last season.
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Edited by:

Jacob Gijy

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