Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed Sergio Aguero as one of the world’s best strikers but insists Lionel Messi remains his No.1.
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.
“Messi is [the best] number nine, number 10, number 11, number seven, number six, number five, number four…
“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.”
Anwar El Ghazi’s injury-time penalty did earn Villa a consolation and boss Dean Smith urged his side to move on from the mauling – the club’s heaviest home defeat in almost four years.
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He said: “We’ll debrief the game, we’ll learn from it and move forward. We were poor against Watford but learned from it and put in a good performance against Burnley.
“What we can learn from is the way they pass and move, the way they work as a team and press. It’s something for myself and the players to aspire to.
“We made mistakes and got punished by a better team.”