Saturday 25 May 2019

Unstoppable Aguero up there with Messi, insists Nasri

Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the winning goal for Manchester City against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring the winning goal for Manchester City against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Mark Ogden

Samir Nasri has claimed that Sergio Agüero is now second only to Cristiano Ronaldo as the world's best striker - despite the Manchester City forward being snubbed in Uefa's list of the best players of 2014.

Agüero kept City's Champions League ambitions alive with a stunning hat-trick as Manuel Pellegrini's team fought back from 2-1 to defeat 10-man Bayern Munich at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

The victory means that City can now qualify for the knockout stages with a scoring draw against AS Roma next month if CSKA Moscow lose against Bayern in Munich - a scenario described as a 'miracle' by Nasri.

But with Agüero once again hauling City to a crucial victory, Nasri insisted that only the Real Madrid star Ronaldo could claim to be ahead of his City team-mate.

"Ronaldo may be on another planet, but Sergio is up there with (Lionel) Messi and (Luis) Suárez," Nasri said of the Argentina international.

"He always delivers in a difficult moment. I think I don't need to speak about his performance. The stats speak for themselves. He is a great player and when he's on his day, he's unstoppable - and against Bayern, we needed him. At the moment he's one of the best players in the world."

Agüero's hat-trick came on the day that Uefa announced its 40-man shortlist for Team of the Year - a list which also overlooked the likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, whose hat-trick for Manchester United against Olympiakos last season was not enough to merit inclusion in the list of players.

Agüero's City team-mates Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Touré have been named on the shortlist, but Agüero's absence is bemusing, with the Salzburg forward Jonathan Soriano one of the more surprising nominees ahead of the former Atlético Madrid striker.

Nasri said: "Every big team has a great goalkeeper and a great goalscorer, you have to have that, but this year Sergio has been unbelievable. It was the same last year but then he got his injury. This year he's fitter. And when he's one on one with the keeper, you don't see him miss the target."

City's dramatic victory has given the team a clear chance to progress to the last 16 and, despite Roma's run of seven wins from their past eight Champions League home games, Nasri insisted that his team would seize the opportunity.

"Now we have to confirm it in Rome," Nasri said. "We have to win there if we want to qualify and we'll still depend on CSKA in Munich. It's a miracle to still have a chance when we only had two points with two games left. The Bayern game was a miracle, too.

"We made some adjustments in the second half, we played better. But now we have to win in Rome - otherwise all of this doesn't count. In two weeks we'll see.

"We showed great team spirit and hopefully this will give us a lift and we can take it to Rome.

"We have the quality - but it's always like this with Manchester City, the last minute - even when we won the league. But it's special and it's fantastic for us."

Standard

Bacary Sagna admitted that the performances of Agüero were setting the standard for the rest of team.

The French full-back said of the Argentina international: "He is bringing the team up at the moment. I think we will have to follow his steps. He showed the right example. He keeps fighting and in front of goal he is clinical. As long as he keeps scoring we can be happy."

Agüero himself said: "It was important to win. Apart from my goals the three points were vital, so we're delighted. I am happy with my form. This season things are going well for me and it is important to carry on like this and keep the results coming." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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