Pep Guardiola has compared Sergio Aguero’s predatory instincts to those of a “lion in the jungle” as the Argentinian prepares for his Manchester City farewell.
Aguero, City’s record scorer with 258 goals, is set to make his final home appearance for the club as the champions wrap up their Premier League campaign against Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The 32-year-old is leaving the club at the end of the season after a decade’s outstanding service that has yielded 12 major trophies, including five Premier League titles.
City manager Guardiola said of the Argentina striker: “When he’s fit he’s a guy like Romario was in Brazil, a guy who in five metres is like a lion in the jungle, making steps that kill the opponents.
“He has this quality but the biggest quality is a unique sense of goal. His last goal at Crystal Palace defined perfectly Sergio. He needs the first control, two or three steps, wow – so quick and then the quality to make the goal.
“He will play until 35 or 40 and he’ll always score goals. It depends on his physical condition. When he’s good in himself he still can do whatever he wants.”
258 goals (club record)
12 major trophies
5 Premier League titles
The major frustration for Aguero has been the fitness problems which have hampered his final season at the club. He has managed just eight starts and four goals this term.
Even now, after missing the last two games, there remains some doubt over how much he will be able to feature this weekend, but Guardiola expects he will play some part.
That would enable him to receive a rousing send-off from the 10,000 fans that will be permitted inside the stadium.
Guardiola said: “As much as he can play he will play. He’s been injured and only trained these two days – partial training sessions – so tomorrow we’ll decide.
“It is the last game. I am pretty sure the 10,000 fans that will be in the stadium will show for the rest of the fans around the world, and will give him his tribute and gratitude for what he’s done for this club.
“It is not necessary to add anything else to his numbers. His performance when he fit was fit was incredible.”
Harry Kane has been linked with City as a potential replacement for Aguero, with reports this week claiming the England captain wants to leave Tottenham.
“He’s a player for Tottenham Hotspur, it’s not correct for me to talk about that,” said Guardiola when this was put to him at a press conference.
The City boss was also unwilling to be drawn on remarks from Kane praising City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.
He said: “I know you are relating it to these comments but, honestly, I don’t want to talk about that.”
Guardiola insists he will not be protecting his players this weekend ahead of the Champions League final. Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling are all fit after problems in midweek.
Guardiola said: “We are going to put players out I decide to win the game.
“We have six days until the final of the Champions League and if one player is injured, unlucky. They can get injured today or tomorrow, the moment you put the boots on.
“Kyle could not play against Brighton because he twisted his ankle a little bit playing with his children. Sometimes it happens.”