Pep Guardiola has hinted Sergio Aguero may have a chance of playing in Manchester City’s delayed Champions League clash against Real Madrid next month.
City’s top scorer has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury that required surgery in the 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley on June 22.
Manager Guardiola had previously said it was “impossible” Aguero could be fit for the last-16 second leg against Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.
The club were instead hoping the 32-year-old, who has scored 23 goals this season, would recover in time to play some part in the latter stages should City reach the newly-arranged last-eight tournament in Portugal.
It is still thought unlikely Aguero will line up against Madrid – certainly from the start – but the Argentinian does seem to be making good progress in his recovery.
Guardiola said at a press conference: “I think against Madrid everyone will be fit, except (Benjamin) Mendy, who is suspended. The other ones are fit.
“I think in two weeks – except for a disaster in a training session that is hopefully not going to happen – everyone will be fit and we’re going to count on the senior guys for this game.”
City wrap up their Premier League programme against Norwich at home on Sunday.
Kevin De Bruyne will go into the game needing one more assist to match Thierry Henry’s single-season record in the competition of 20.
The Belgian has been outstanding throughout the season but missed out of the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award to Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
Guardiola said: “I think he speaks for himself (with what) he gives to our team and the Premier League. It is not necessary to say how important Kevin is, what a fantastic player he is.
“At the same time congratulations to the captain of Liverpool for the award. He’s a really good player.
“He (De Bruyne) enjoys making assists. I would love for Kevin not to score millions of goals, but I think he enjoys more making an assist to his players.”
The visit of Norwich will also see veteran playmaker David Silva make his final Premier League appearance for the club. The 34-year-old, who is leaving the club when City’s Champions League campaign concludes, has won 11 major honours in 10 seasons at City.
Guardiola said of Silva: “Extraordinary – the amount of games, the huge quality of the games he played, the titles.
“He’s another player, alongside six, seven, eight others that made the club what it is right now. Always I think this club will be grateful to him.”
City have scored 97 goals in the Premier League this season and are bidding to reach a century for the third time after the title-winning years of 2014 (under Manuel Pellegrini) and 2018.
Guardiola, whose side suffered a shock loss to Norwich in September, said: “It’s the last game at home, we want to win, maybe score 100 goals again and then prepare for the game against Madrid.
“It was not enough to finish (top) and right now we are 18 points behind Liverpool but, of course, every game there is a target, a focus, a desire to win the game and maybe scoring 100 goals is one of the reasons why.”