Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as “a legend” after the Manchester City striker broke two records in Sunday’s 6-1 win over Aston Villa.
Aguero netted three times as he surpassed Thierry Henry as the Premier League’s top-scoring non-Englishman, while he is now the division’s leading scorer of hat-tricks after completing his 12th at Villa Park.
Although the hosts were charitable in their defending, Aguero’s opener showed his clinical finishing ability as he lashed home from outside the box.
A jinking run and finish doubled his tally before an emphatic close-range effort secured the matchball and the warm praise of his manager.
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“He’s a legend and the legend rises tonight,” Guardiola told Sky Sports after a match in which Riyad Mahrez scored twice and Gabriel Jesus also netted.
“Thierry Henry is one of the 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.
“We congratulated him in the locker room because to score this amount of goals means you have done for many, many years a lot of good things.
“He’s been consistent for many, many years, so an incredible compliment for him.
“The most important thing is he is an incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football and in the final third he is the guy who has the goal in his head.”
Villa boss Dean Smith was left to reflect on a one-sided contest in which his side were second best throughout, a late Anwar El Ghazi penalty providing scant consolation.
“It was a chastening experience,” he conceded. “We know they are a top-class team but some of the goals we have given away were dreadful. The third one probably summed it up.
“They had 15 or 16 passes and we hadn’t laid a glove on them. They have been allowed to pass the ball too easily and Aguero sticks it in the top corner from 20 yards.
“Mahrez got into the penalty box and under no pressure passes into the bottom corner. It is hard when you are three goals down against a team of this quality. The three players that scored today are worth more than my whole squad.
“They kept going but we shouldn’t be sitting here happy with ourselves and we’re not. We are embarrassed.”