Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has credited manager Pep Guardiola for helping him through the disappointment of his last stint on international duty with Argentina.
Aguero missed a penalty as La Albiceleste went down 1-0 to Paraguay and they now languish sixth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualification standings.
The 28-year-old was carrying a calf complaint at the time and returned to City as a substitute against Everton last month – coming off the bench to similarly fail from 12 yards in a 1-1 draw.
Guardiola then infamously left Aguero out of his starting line-up for the 4-0 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League, prompting rumours of a rift between player and manager.
The former Atletico Madrid star has since resumed his role in City’s first XI and has 14 goals in 15 appearances for the club this season, and he maintains his long-term future remains at the Etihad Stadium.
“I never had problems with Guardiola, nor him with me. He always helped me and gave me advice,” Aguero told South America’s ESPN radio.
“After the game with Paraguay, I was emotionally very bad. Guardiola helped me a lot.
“Guardiola told me to try not to pay so much attention to what is said. He makes me focus on winning.
“For now I’m fine at Manchester City, and the day I leave it will be to return to [his boyhood club] Independiente.
“How long has it been rumoured about Real Madrid? I’m very happy at City and more so now with Pep.
“This month I’ve been thinking very positively. In the last few weeks my head has changed a lot.”
Next on the agenda for Argentina is a pivotal showdown with bitter rivals and group leaders Brazil on Thursday, where Lionel Messi will make a welcome comeback having missed the recent run of two points from the last three matches through injury.
Aguero conceded Messi was angry the last time they were together – in the aftermath of City’s 3-1 win over Barca last week – but he added his voice to denials of reports Brazil and City midfielder Fernandinho was involved in an altercation with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Nothing happened between Messi and Fernandinho,” he added. “He was furious when I arrived but I tried to calm him down.”