MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) -Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero said goodbye in style as his double off the bench in his final league match for the club helped them celebrate their Premier League title success in style with the 5-0 thrashing of Everton at The Etihad on Sunday.
Aguero started on the bench as Pep Guardiola named a surprisingly strong starting team given they are playing in the Champions League final next weekend, but the Argentine could not be held back, helping condemn Everton to a 10th-placed finish.
The already-crowned champions did not take their foot off the gas even though they had little to play for, with Kevin De Bruyne hammering the hosts into an 11th-minute lead before Gabriel Jesus made it 2-0 three minutes later.
Everton’s opportunity to get back into the match came in the 37th minute when Ruben Dias conceded a penalty for a foul on Richarlison but Gylfi Sigurdsson’s spot kick was saved by Ederson.
After the break, the goals kept coming as Phil Foden finished well to make it 3-0 in the 53rd before Aguero, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona when his deal expires next month, took centre stage in front of the adoring fans.
His first goal came after a twisting run in the 71st, before a bullet header completed the rout and a perfect afternoon for City and their all-time top scorer as the champions finished on 86 points, 12 clear of second-placed rivals Manchester United.
“When I came here the first title (in 2012) was the most important, for the club and for me,” Aguero told Sky Sports.
“Then City started to win more titles so I’m so happy because it’s not easy to be 10 years at one club, for me it’s an honour,” he added having won five Premier League crowns.
With fans back in the stadium to see their side lift the trophy, they were disappointed Aguero did not start, with the striker given his own guard of honour regardless.
City played like worthy champions, as Everton struggled to cope with their intensity, and scored twice in the first half, but missed a host of chances to make it 3-0 before the break.
But England midfielder Foden, one of City’s standout players this season, made no mistake with a fine finish just after the break, before Aguero signed off in a way only he could.
His double took him to 260 goals for City in all competitions and 184 Premier Leagues strikes – the most of any player for a single club in the competition.
City coach Pep Guardiola was reduced to tears when asked about Aguero post match.
“He is a special person for all of us,” Guardiola said. “He is so nice. He helped me a lot. We cannot replace him. We cannot.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)