Sergio: Premier League title race and the latest from Spain and Argentina
Manchester City have had some poor results in the Premier League recently. Is it difficult as a team to find motivation after winning the treble last season?
A club like City always maintains motivation.
The triple crown was something wonderful, we reached the highest of our aspirations, and now it's about being able to maintain that level.
I don't think it's about a lack of motivation.
The Premier is the most competitive league in the world and this season proves it’s no different.
Arsenal maintained a killer performance. Liverpool recovered their potential and teams like Aston Villa are in the race.
I think that City has had important losses - like Gundogan, who was key in recent seasons.
De Bruyne going out on an injury, who has been a key playmaker, Rodri being suspended for several games…
Those losses make it really hard to maintain the level but we are still close to the top of the table and there is a long way to go.
Which club do you think are Manchester City’s biggest title challengers this season?
In addition to the ones I mentioned before, I’d add Tottenham, which has improved a lot; Newcastle, always putting up a fight even with ups and downs; and United, which you should never sleep on.
Aston Villa are currently third in the Premier League, should Manchester City be considering Unai Emery as a possible replacement for Pep when he decides to eventually leave?
That's almost sci-fi.
The truth is that Pep is still City's coach and hopefully he will be for a long time to come.
Fellow Argentinian, Emi Martinez has been very impressive. Where do you rank him in the list of best goalkeepers in the world? Is he as good as Alisson and Ederson?
Dibu did receive the award for the best goalkeeper in the world, didn’t he?
He had an incredible World Cup; he has a great personality and he’s become a key player in Emery's Aston Villa.
He keeps clean sheets in many games and makes critical saves.
Today, he is without a doubt one of the best. Alisson and Ederson are also great goalkeepers, each with their own style and their own respective relevance to their squads.
Ederson, for example, is vital for the type of game Pep wants. He has an excellent parry and great ball handling, which translates into City keeping it tight in the box.
Should Jack Grealish accept that he has lost his place to Jeremy Doku, and look for a new club?
I do not see why. Jack has had an excellent last season and kept up a great level.
The proof is in the match against Fulham - he scored the winning goal.
City needs to have options and it’s very good that there’s healthy competition among the squad.
That always makes everyone give their best.
Manchester City seem to really miss Rodri when he is unable to play. Do you think Pep needs to sign a new holding midfielder in January for back-up to Rodri?
Rodri is a key piece. And even more so when Gundogan is no longer in the team and De Bruyne is still injured.
City felt his absence when he could not play due to suspension. I don't think he is a holding midfielder.
In fact, he is not the type of player that Pep uses as a midfielder.
I suppose Guardiola will evaluate him and define if he needs any other player in that position.
Who do you think he has been the best player in the Premier League so far this season?
All squads of the teams fighting for the toprungs of the Premier have great players.
And teamwork plays an important role, so it is sometimes difficult to say who is the best.
I think that there’s a standout player in each club.
Salah, for example, brings unique scoring ability for Liverpool. Odegaard at Arsenal controls the pace and timing of play for the whole team.
Rodri at City for the aforementioned reasons, Douglas Luiz at Aston Villa is a key player... there are many players competing at a high level, and I think it would be unfair to say that one of them stands above them all.
You played in the Premier League the season that Leicester won the title. Do you think that Girona could do something similar in La Liga?
Girona has been a pleasant surprise because they play very attractive football and their style is very clear.
So far, they are having a dream season competing against the big names of Spain – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atleti.
We are reaching the middle of this season and we still have to see if they can maintain form.
They have a shallow roster and any loss would be major, unlike other contenders for the title.
Back then, Leicester never let their guard down, maintained their level and managed to win the title.
We will have to see whether Girona can achieve the same feat.
Joao Felix is playing really well at Barca. Why do you think it didn't work out for him at Atletico?
It is difficult to know for sure, without being privy to the club’s latest internal discussions.
Sometimes you get stuck in a dynamic that is hard to break out of, and a change of air is all you need to break out of the rut.
It seemed like his style didn't suit Simeone. Do you think you would have enjoyed playing under Simeone?
You'll have to ask Joao.
As for me, I think I would have enjoyed Simeone's style.
As a coach, he has been very versatile and creative, building different connotations to keep Atlético competitive.
And that has a lot of merit.
Do you think Barcelona are still the strongest team in La Liga and will regain their championship?
They are one of the strongest, without a doubt.
They’ve had some ups and downs in their game but… it’s Barcelona.
And they will always give a good fight.
Argentina recently lost their unbeaten record to Uruguay after Darwin Nunez scored against them. What do you think of him as a striker?
That was bound to happen sometime, right?
The truth is that Argentina had kept an impressive record, with great achievements to show for it.
But competing against the best means there is always a chance of losing.
Anyway, after that match the team was able to rally and beat Brazil at the Maracaná, historic game!
Brazil suffered its first defeat at home playing in the qualifiers.
Uruguay, led by Bielsa, proved to be a great rival and Darwin took advantage of his chances very well.
He has a great form - well on his way to be placed among the best of the best Uruguayan forwards in history, with Cavani and Suárez.
There are rumors that Scaloni is ready to leave Argentina. Do you think he should stay for Copa America?
He mentioned something in passing after the match with Brazil, during a press conference.
In the end it’ll be his personal decision and it will have to be respected.
But in my heart of hearts, I hope he stays.
He’s done an incredible job. Scaloni and his technical staff have a very close relationship with the players and have assembled teams that have been formidable in every sense.
Has Scaloni been the world's best manager in 2023?
He is no other than the coach of the World Champions, isn’t he?
He has worked hard to shape Argentina's game to be awe-inspiring, able to beat the best teams in the world.
In my eyes, he has to be the best.
Who do you think he has been the world's best player in 2023?
Messi, he is still the best and will be as long as he is active.
Then there are other players who have had an outstanding season, like Bellingham.
But Leo is in a league of his own.
What was your favourite footballing moment to watch in 2023?
If we’re talking Argentina, the victory over Brazil at the Maracaná in the World Cup Qualifiers.
And of course, at club level, the moment City won the Champions League.
Alejandro Garnacho scored an incredible overhead kick last week. Was that the best goal of 2023?
Wheeeew, what a goal. I think so. That has to be the best. When I saw it, I was awestruck. It's not easy to score a goal like that.
Was it better than Rooney's vs Man City in 2011?
They are both great goals. For the physical prowess behind them, and the sheer beauty of the goal.
But I choose Garnacho's for one major reason… Rooney scored against City!