Manchester City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero will miss Monday’s Premier League season opener at Wolves as he continues to recover from knee surgery.
Aguero, who scored 23 goals last season, has not featured since limping out of City’s victory over Burnley on June 22.
There had initially been hope the 32-year-old would be fit to return for the latter stages of the Champions League in August but that date passed and the Argentinian is still not back in full training.
“Still he hasn’t had one training session with us,” said manager Pep Guardiola at a press conference.
City were heavily linked with Aguero’s international team-mate Lionel Messi following his dispute with Barcelona recently.
A move would have seen the six-time world player of the year link up with his friend and former Barca boss Guardiola, but the 33-year-old eventually opted to stay at the Nou Camp.
Guardiola was unwilling to discuss how close City came to securing what would have been a sensational transfer.
He said: “Leo explained quite well his feelings. I don’t have anything to add. He is a football player for Barcelona, the club I love. I have nothing more to say.”
Asked whether a move could be resurrected in future, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. It’s a question for Leo Messi. I cannot talk about the intentions for other people.”
City did not entertain a move for another of Guardiola’s former players, Thiago Alcantara.
Guardiola made the Spain international a key part of his Bayern Munich side after making his signing a priority at the German club, but his next destination will be Liverpool.
Guardiola said: “In the moment we have enough players in this position.
“I’m happy Thiago is coming to England. England is going to enjoy a really good player.”
The coming season is likely to be a big one for Phil Foden as the 20-year-old steps into the boots of departed playmaker David Silva.
However, the midfielder’s campaign got off to a bad start when he was sent home for breaching coronavirus protocols while on international duty with England in Iceland a fortnight ago.
Guardiola says he has responded well since returning to training with City.
Guardiola said: “He’s well, (from) the time I saw him, these three or four days we were together. He knows he made a mistake and that’s all.”
Guardiola is now in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium but insists uncertainty over his future will not affect his ability to do the job.
He said: “It’s the same position. I come in to work harder or better every day than the previous seasons, and do the best football as possible to win games and make our people proud of our team. That’s my job.”
City have secured one contract extension, however, with young midfielder Tommy Doyle agreeing new terms to stay until 2025.
The 18-year-old, a grandson of former City players Mike Doyle and Glyn Pardoe, has made three senior appearances for the club he first joined a decade ago.
“I see this place as my home,” Doyle said. “I’ve been here so many years and to be offered a new contract was a massive thing for me. It was a no-brainer to sign. Now it’s all sorted, I’m happy and ready for the start of the season now.”