Sergio Aguero has been warned his legendary status will count for nothing when it comes to deciding his Manchester City future.
Aguero, City’s all-time record scorer with 256 goals, is out of contract this summer and has yet to be offered a new deal, after 10 glittering seasons with the Blues.
The 32-year-old forward has endured a season blighted by injury and illness, although City boss Pep Guardiola believes he can still play a role in the run-in.
Despite that, Guardiola said sentiment will not be a factor when it comes to deciding whether to offer Aguero – who is on £275,000-a-week – a fresh deal.
“He knows it,” said Guardiola. “He knows it from day one. Sergio has been one year injured. It’s a lot of time.
“He played two or three games, then got injured again and was out.
“But I always think we need him in this part of the season in the right moments, because he has a special talent and quality. He’s going to help.
“At the end of the season there will be games that will be tight and difficult and we will need him. We need guys who can score a goal and the best guy in those terms is him.”
He lasted just 61 minutes, but Guardiola said the Argentina star needs time if he is to get back to his best. “We haven’t denied he needs time,” said Guardiola.
“The positive thing is that he played 60 minutes and that’s good for his legs.
“Whether we need him for 10 to 15 minutes or from the beginning in the next games, we’ll see. He has to continue training well and be positive.
“But it’s difficult. I was injured for a year and I struggled a lot to come back.”