Soccer: Guardiola says Aguero free to join Man City's Premier League rivals

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Quarter Final - First Leg - Manchester City v Borussia Dortmund - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - April 6, 2021 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola REUTERS/Phil Noble

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he wants only the best for the club's all-time leading goal-scorer Sergio Aguero, even if the Argentine opts to join a Premier League rival at the end of the season.

Aguero, who has scored 257 goals in 385 appearances and won four Premier League titles, an FA Cup and five League Cups at City, is set to leave when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

The 32-year-old has been linked with several English and overseas clubs. Guardiola was asked if he would prefer that Aguero did not stay in the Premier League and face City on a weekly basis.

"All of us wish the best for him. Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure," Guardiola told reporters before Saturday's home game with Leeds United.

"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 has been a peripheral figure at City this season, making nine league appearances after struggles with injury and illness. But Guardiola expressed hope the striker can hit top form and play a role in the remainder of the campaign.

"Everything can happen. Everything can change quickly in a positive or (negative) way. Everyone must be ready and hopefully Sergio can be ready quick," Guardiola said.

"Sergio's a lovely person with specific qualities and skills. I understand him and I understand he needs time to get in best condition.

"I said last week... the way he trained and in the Leicester City game which was so difficult, he moved well and helped us. He felt something in his leg and was substituted. He's doing better."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

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