Frank Lampard says Sergio Aguero is the best striker in world football and “right up there” with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the elite rankings.
The Argentine claimed a memorable hat-trick as Manchester City snatched a thrilling 3-2 win over Bayern Munich in Tuesday’s crucial Champions League clash after the Germans – down to 10 men after Medhi Benatia was sent off – had led 2-1 with five minutes left.
The feat simply confirmed Lampard’s thoughts of Aguero after the midfielder, 36, joined the English champions on loan from New York City in August.
“In my first few days training here my friends and other people were asking ‘who does this or that in training?’ and I said ‘this
Aguero is just different class’,” said Lampard.
“He had proved that. He can’t stop scoring. He’s top of world football’s strikers.
“We’re fortunate in the Premier League that last year we had [Luis] Suarez and now, not to discount anyone, we are looking at
Aguero and [Diego] Costa as the two in-form strikers in world football.
“I am fortunate enough to have played with Didier Drogba who, for me, was the greatest, but it is very hard to compare those two
because their style is so different but in terms of pure finishing, electric pace, Aguero is [one of the best I have played with].
“I think it’s in his hands [to top Messi and Ronaldo]. Ability-wise from seeing him at close quarters, he is in that bracket. If he can carry on with this form, doing it week in and week out, which he is doing, then people will talk about him in the same breath [as Ronaldo and Messi].
“I haven’t been fortunate enough to play with those two, I have admired them from afar, but in terms of Aguero he is certainly right up there.
“I think people need to chip in at all times [with goals], but great strikers love the burden. They want the burden of scoring goals and I am sure he is as happy after the Bayern game as he will ever be, that he is scoring goals and winning games.”
City’s success revived their last-16 hopes, and should CSKA Moscow lose in Munich on December 10, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will go through with a win or scoring draw against Roma in their final group game.
The meeting with the Italians could be Lampard’s last Champions League game as he looks set to join New York to prepare for the new MLS season in March. And he admits victory would provide the perfect European send-off.
“Yes it would be,” he added. “I would love to be involved. I really enjoyed the Bayern game,” he continued.
“It was something I didn’t imagine, playing Champions League football again really, but I have been given the opportunity and I really enjoyed it, playing against a top-class team.
“It was an amazing night. When your back’s against the wall and you know you could be going out at this stage, for a club like Man City it’s imperative you want to get through the group stage.
“I think we are all aware with the ability in the squad we should qualify. We make no bones about not being on top, top form but we are still in the hunt and that is what good teams do, they stay in the hunt. We’ll try to step up and do the job in Rome.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and midfielder Aaron Ramsey talk about their side's upcoming encounter with Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and striker Rickie Lambert look ahead to their crucial Champions League Group B match at Ludogorets.