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Guardiola hails ‘unbelievable’ Álvarez as Haaland returns

Pep Guardiola stated Julián Álvarez is already one of the best players in the world after he scored twice to help Manchester City to a 3-1 victory over Burnley.

Álvarez made it 15 goals for the season, just two behind last season’s tally, with a first-half double at the Etihad Stadium.

The forward, who turned 24 on Wednesday, has won the Premier League title, Champions League and the World Cup in his short career and Guardiola believes he’s already established himself as one of the best in the world.

“For his age, for the numbers in the Premier League, for what he gives to the team, he is unbelievable,” Guardiola said.

“He’s a world champion playing alongside [Leo] Messi, [Ángel] Di María and Enzo Fernández. If you are not good you cannot play in that team. He can play in three different positions and he has an incredible sense with the intensity to run. He’s really good.”

Álvarez’s contribution was one of a number of positives for Guardiola, who was able to hand Kevin De Bruyne a first start since the opening day of the season.

With the game won in the second half, the City manager was also able to bring on Erling Haaland for his first appearance in two months following a foot injury.

“If it was 7-0 at half-time he would have played more minutes,” said Guardiola.

“If it was 0-0 maybe he wouldn’t have played a minute. I saw him sharp, the feeling that he was there.

“He didn’t have clear chances but he had three or four when the control from Jérémy [Doku] didn’t see him but he can score with his quality.

“It has been really good without him for the last two months but with him we are a better team and we are really pleased that he is back.”

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