Sergio Aguero signed off for Manchester City in style on Sunday, scoring twice in a 5-0 romp for the Premier League champions against Everton before lifting the trophy for the fifth time in his Etihad career.
City’s record goalscorer, who is leaving the club after next week’s Champions League final, hit a quickfire double after coming off the bench with 25 minutes remaining.
His efforts added to earlier strikes from Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden as City showed no sign of letting up ahead of the showpiece clash against Chelsea in Porto.
“When I came here the first title for me was the most important, for the club and for me, that Man 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 told Sky Sports.
“Before the game I felt so strange, the sensation is not good. I prefer to think about the good moments,” added the Argentine, who said he hoped to feature in the Champions League final.
Manager Pep Guardiola was in tears after the final whistle in Manchester, describing Aguero as a “special person for all of us”.
“He helped me a lot,” the City boss said as fans celebrated in the stands. “We cannot replace him. There are many players at this club, Joe Hart and David Silva helped us to be this club, what it is.”
Everton were overwhelmed on an emotional occasion, with fans back in the stadium after 14 months away due to coronavirus restrictions.
It was the first chance for supporters to salute the champions and acknowledge their European exploits.
Before the game, large numbers spilled into the roads as City’s team coaches made what is normally a straightforward journey from the training complex to the stadium.
Only 10,000 were permitted inside the Etihad but the atmosphere they generated inspired the team and few left before the post-match ceremonies, which included the tributes for Aguero.
Everton formed a guard of honour to greet City onto the field and players from both sides then did likewise for Aguero.
Supporters would have to wait to see the former Atletico Madrid forward in action, however.
The striker, having been troubled by injury in recent weeks, was not fit enough to play the full 90 minutes and had asked Guardiola if he could start from the bench.
City were 3-0 up when Aguero came on in the second half and he soon made his mark, flicking the ball past Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford before heading a second from a Fernandinho cross.
He could even have had a hat-trick as he connected with another header but this time Pickford saved.
City paraded the Premier League trophy around the stadium before Aguero was reintroduced for a final farewell and fans were shown a montage of his goals as he watched with the trophy in his hands.
The 32-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona, has scored a club-record 260 goals since joining City from Atletico in 2011, winning 12 major trophies over the past decade.
Aguero’s 184 Premier League goals are the most by any player for a single club.
But he will forever be remembered for a single goal — his 94th minute strike that snatched the title from Manchester United on the final day of the 2011/12 season to start City’s era of dominance.