Pep Guardiola considers Sergio Aguero to be an “incredible legend” who will “die scoring goals”, with the Manchester City boss adamant there has never been any friction between the pair.
When the Catalan coach first arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, it was suggested that the Argentine frontman did not figure prominently in his plans.
Once another South American striker arrived, in the form of Brazil international Gabriel Jesus, Aguero saw his future called into question.
He has, however, gone on to become City’s all-time leading goalscorer and the undisputed leading man for a side chasing down an historic quadruple in 2019.
Quizzed on his relationship with Aguero and the early reports of unrest, Guardiola told Sky Sports: "It's the media. I understand because sometimes he didn't play and then people asked why he didn't play, but he knows the reason why.
"Sometimes it was for the tactics and sometimes I wanted more, but that is my job. I have to demand the best from my players.
"But I'm happy because the Sergio I met and the Sergio I know now is the same, he's an incredible person. He's a guy who can talk, he's a funny guy and he has incredible heart. I love to work with nice, nice people and he's one of the nicest players I've ever worked with in my career.
"Sometimes you need more time to understand it and sometimes the team, not just one player, has to understand it. But Sergio was so open to doing it because I know he is so happy here. He loves playing at Man City."
Under Guardiola, Aguero has taken his City goal return to 228 in just 328 appearances.
Of those efforts, 162 have come in the English top-flight, with the three-time title winner now seventh on the list of most prolific Premier League forwards in history.
Guardiola added on one of the very best in the business, who will always be remembered for his stoppage-time strike on the final day in 2012: "He's an incredible legend, who scored the most important goal in the club's history.
"Even if we win all the titles this season the nicest and most incredible Man City moment in our lives is when Sergio scored with Roberto Mancini's team. That is the most important moment of this club.
"This guy scored goals when he was one year old. When he was born he started scoring goals and he will die scoring goals. I never taught him one thing about his quality scoring goals.
"Always I've tried to involve him in the group, in the process with the ball and without the ball and what he has to do. That depends on the desire and the willingness to do it and he was always able to do that."