Pep Guardiola has labelled Sergio Aguero as one of the best strikers in world football – but the Manchester City manager insists no player will ever top Lionel Messi as his favourite ever player.
Aguero’s hat-trick in City’s 6-1 romp at Aston Villa made him the Premier League’s record overseas scorer with 177 goals.
Riyad Mahrez’s first-half brace and Gabriel Jesus’ goal made light work of Villa, who crumbled to their sixth defeat in eight top-flight games on Sunday.
Guardiola managed Messi at Barcelona and believes he still sets the standard to which others aspire.
He said: “Sergio is one of the best, no doubt. The best is Messi, but the rest? Sergio is absolutely one of them.
“All the players in the locker room congratulated him. To break this record of an incredible legend like Thierry Henry, it means it’s not just for a short period, it’s many years.
“To be the foreign player with the most goals and hat-tricks speaks for itself.
“It’s an honour to be here the day he achieved that, hopefully he can score more. He will die scoring goals.
“There are players through the incredible history of English football and he is one of them, he helps to make the Premier League and English football better.”
Discussing why Aguero will quite rightly be remembered as a City great, Guardiola added on Sky Sports: “He’s a legend and legends rise tonight.
“Thierry Henry is one most incredible players to play in this league and he will be proud that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record.
“He was a legend and Sergio is the same. To score this amount of goals means you have done for many years a lot of good things. He’s been consistent for many years and so we are proud of him.
“He is the most incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football.”
City may have risen back to second, but there is still a 14-point distance to leaders Liverpool, who also have a game in hand.
Guardiola was pleased that his side showed increased resilience compared to their win over Manchester United in midweek, but admitted a lack of focus earlier in the season may have cost them the chance to retain their title.
“It was good performance. We had control of the transitions and passes were good. It was a great result.
“Against Manchester United they came back into the game in the second half but today we played a complete 90 minutes.
“If you lose the form it will be gone. We dropped points in early in the season – maybe we were not incredibly focused but even the games we lost we created chances.
“We are second in the table and for a long time we were not there so we will try and maintain this position.”