Pep Guardiola would be happy to see Sergio Aguero lining up against Manchester City in the Premier League next season.
It was announced last week Aguero, City’s record goalscorer, would leave the club when his contract expired in the summer.
The 32-year-old, who has scored 257 goals for City in a decade at the Etihad Stadium, is yet to indicate what his next move will be.
The Argentinian has been linked with Barcelona and a return to former club Atletico Madrid, while in the past he has spoken of ending his career at boyhood club Independiente.
It is not inconceivable, however, that a Premier League rival could show interest in signing him on what would be a free transfer. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have been mentioned in some reports.
That prospect would be difficult for some City fans to stomach but manager Guardiola insists he would not have a problem with it.
The City boss said: “We wish the best for him, all of us. Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure.
“We’ll be delighted with the decision he takes, the best for him and his family and his career.
“My preference is his preference. His preference is my preference. The best for him is the best for us.”
Aguero’s season has been ravaged by injury and illness. He underwent knee surgery in the summer and his comeback this term was complicated by further pain in the joint and a hamstring problem. He then had more than a month out after contracting Covid-19.
He returned to the starting line-up for only the sixth time this season in last weekend’s victory at Leicester but was withdrawn after 63 minutes, with Guardiola revealing he felt a twinge.
Guardiola said: “The Leicester game was so difficult because they defend so deep and so tight.
“For the strikers it was not easy but he moved well and helped us. He felt something in his leg. He was substituted but he is doing better.”
Guardiola acknowledges Aguero has always taken time to recover his best form after fitness problems but remains hopeful he can have a big impact in the remainder of the season as City chase a quadruple.
He said: “Sergio is a lovely person with specific qualities and skills. I understand him, I know him, and I understand he needs time to get in the best condition.
“Everything can happen. Everything can change quickly in a positive way or not positive way. Everyone must be ready and hopefully Sergio can be ready quick.”