Guardiola: 'Exceptional' Kane one of best strikers I've ever seen

Pep Guardiola says his admiration for Harry Kane has not dwindled since missing out on the Tottenham star, who he considers one of the greatest strikers he has ever seen.

Manchester City fell short in their pursuit of the England international ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, with Tottenham standing firm on their huge valuation at the time.

The reigning English champions instead turned to Erling Haaland a year later and the 22-year-old is currently the most prolific striker in world football.

While pleased with the impact Haaland has made since arriving from Borussia Dortmund, Guardiola still remains a fan of Kane.

"We are extremely happy with Erling and, of course, I think Tottenham are extremely happy with Harry Kane," Guardiola said.

"What an exceptional player – the numbers and, more than the goals, the quality. That they didn't win a title [doesn't mean] he is not a good player. I think he proved that.

"Harry Kane remains one of the best strikers I have ever seen in my life."

Haaland has scored 31 goals in 27 matches for City this season – six more than Europe's next highest goalscorer, Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe (25).

Kane has himself been in good form this campaign for an inconsistent Spurs side, with his tally of 18 goals bettered only by Haaland, Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski (23).

Harry Kane has 18 goals this season
Harry Kane has 18 goals this season

He has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season and is now just one short of overtaking club legend Jimmy Greaves as Tottenham's all-time record goalscorer.

The 29-year-old also needs one more goal to become the third player after Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) to reach the 200 mark in the Premier League.

Those records will be in Kane's sights when Spurs host City on Sunday, a little over two weeks on from the sides facing off in a thrilling clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola criticised his side after they recovered from two goals down at half-time to win 4-2, but they have since won back-to-back matches without conceding.

"From the results since then, if we'd lost or drawn it would have been seen as a bad approach," Guardiola said.

"But I explained my feelings. I know my team, I know the players. It doesn't matter what happened.

"The decisions we take are to do our best and for our benefit. I take responsibility for that, that's why I'm in charge. I didn't know what would happen when I said my comments.

"I just expressed my feelings, first to the team and then in public and that's all. It's just three games after that and we have to continue."

Guardiola has lost all four of his visits to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions, making it the away ground he has managed at the most without winning.