Manchester City’s Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League football match Napoli vs Manchester City on November 1, 2017 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Sergio Aguero scores club record 178th Man City goal. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE
Sergio Aguero became Manchester City’s all-time record scorer and was described as “a legend” by coach Pep Guardiola whose side booked their place in the Champions League last 16 with a 4-2 win at Napoli.
The 29-year-old Argentine beat the old mark of 177 set by Eric Brook in the 1930s when he hit City’s third goal in Naples, then promised to give his shirt to his eight-year-old son Benjamin — the grandson of Argentina and Napoli legend Diego Maradona.
“This shirt is for my son, he texted me to say: “As soon as you score, bring me the shirt’,” said Aguero.
“I am bringing the shirt back to my son. My family called from Argentina, they were watching me.”
Aguero’s son was born from his marriage to Giannina Maradona, the daughter of Diego.
And Aguero achieved his new landmark at the San Paolo Stadium where Maradona made himself a Neapolitan icon between 1984 and 1991, winning two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup.
“What he (Aguero) has achieved has made him a legend, he’s gone down in history, so I would tell him to enjoy,” said Guardiola.
Aguero paid tribute to his team-mates for his record 178 goals.
“I’m very happy for this moment and happy because the team help support me and the fans.
“I’ll enjoy this moment because it only happens once.
“Napoli are a good team and away always in the Champions League is difficult.”
The Premier League leaders had needed just a point to seal their berth in the knockout rounds for the fifth consecutive year, with two games to go.
But City’s fourth victory out of four in Group F confirmed their progress with 12 points.
Napoli are third, six points behind Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk who beat Dutch outfit Feyenoord 3-1, and are close to elimination from the elite European competition.
The new benchmark is just another for the man from Buenos Aires who joined City from Atletico Madrid in 2011 for £38 million, scoring two goals and assisting one on his debut against Swansea.
He currently has the best goals-to-minutes ratio in Premier League history — scoring 107 in 154 Premier League matches at a rate of a goal every 106 minutes.
City fought back despite a dominant early display from the Serie A leaders before they were damaged after defender Faouzi Ghoulam went off with a knee injury.
“They completely destroyed us in the first 20 minutes especially Ghoulam and I wish him well,” said Guardiola. “We suffered a lot but our players showed personality.
“The point is how in the bad moments the team react and they did really well. The level of football for a spectator was just amazing all I could say was ‘wow’.”
Lorenzo Insigne had opened for Napoli after 21 minutes with defender Nicolas Otamendi pulling City level on 35 minutes.
City’s John Stones edged the visitors ahead three minutes after the break. But to the delight of the home crowd Jorginho converted a penalty to make it 2-2 after 62 minutes.
Aguero then fired in the third seven minutes later after Leroy Sane broke forwards. The ball eventually fell to the Argentine who scored his record-breaking goal before Raheem Sterling put the icing on the cake in injury time.
While many believe the emphatic triumph was a warning for the rest of Europe, Aguero said the win meant little for the rest of the season.
“Napoli is a good team,” he said. “Playing away in the Champions League is difficult.
“I am very happy to win and qualify. We must keep going in the same way, every game, playing the same way.
“(Tonight) it shows nothing. It is a long season.
“Now, we are good. We must continue the same way.”