Man City goal-machine Aguero: I'm 'lucky' to play alongside De Bruyne

Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte

PEP GUARDIOLA believes Kevin De Bruyne must be in with a shout for the Ballon d'Or this year.

"No doubt", said Guardiola after watching De Bruyne lay on three more assists in Saturday's 5-1 thrashing of Leicester.

The Citizens travel to face Basel in the first leg of their round-of-16 clash on Tuesday, and when quizzed on De Bruyne's chances of taking the Ballon d'Or, Guardiola alluded to the Champions League as a must-win competition to be in contention. It's not one game.

Kevin De Bruyne's teasing low cross was turned home by Raheem Sterling for his 20th goal of the season inside three minutes, but there was a rude awakening for City's record signing Aymeric Laporte on just his second appearance for the club as Jamie Vardy skipped beyond the £57 million defender before his deflected shot found the bottom corner.

"I don't know [which was my favourite goal] - maybe the last one because it's a long time since I scored from outside the box", Aguero said. "The way he played, it's hard to find [a better] one in Europe". You have to be there in the latter stages.

"At the end, if you get an individual honor, it is handsome", he said.

But if Guardiola's side can defy the odds and bring the famous Champions League trophy back to the Etihad, and if De Bruyne can maintain his form, he could very well be the next Ballon d'Or victor.

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That is more than anyone in Europe's top five leagues - including Guardiola's old favourite Messi.

Ahead of the resumption of City's Champions League campaign this week, Guardiola reckons De Bruyne needs to be successful in Europe's top competition to be a contender.

They also remain firmly in the hunt in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

De Bruyne has the consistency and work rate to go with his huge creative talents which have seen him make more assists than Lionel Messi in the last six seasons.

"Against Basel we try to make two good games and do it better than last season - hopefully this time we can go through". "If we are able to win the title it will be something special for us". "What happens after is an extra", he told reporters.

"When I'm busy playing football, I don't care (about praise)". I am doing what I have to do. "I am very pleased with the way everything is going". They are the better side and this should be quite an easy game for them. He scores all different types of goals - tap-ins, cheeky chips and screamers and we've seen that today. It is something you reflect on after you get something like that.

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