Manchester, United Kingdom - Manchester City midfielder Frank Lampard believes that his team-mate Sergio Aguero stands comparison with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo following his stunning Champions League hat-trick against Bayern Munich.
Having opened the scoring in the 21st minute of Tuesday's game at the Etihad Stadium, Aguero struck again in the 85th and 91st minutes as City roared back from behind to win 3-2 and keep their hopes of a last-16 place flickering.
City will go through if they win away to Roma in their last Group E game on December 10 and CSKA Moscow fail to win away to Bayern, while a draw could also be enough if the Russian champions lose in Munich.
Asked if Aguero, who has scored 17 goals this season, could be likened to Barcelona superstar Messi and Real Madrid's Ronaldo, Lampard told reporters: "For me, he's right up there.
"It's a big call to make, but from seeing him at close quarters, ability-wise he's in that bracket, without doubt.
"Now he has to carry on this form, keep doing it week in, week out, which he's doing and he's done before, and people will talk about him in the same breath.
"I haven't been fortunate enough to play with those two (Messi and Ronaldo). I've admired them from afar, but in terms of Aguero, he's certainly right up there."
City's trip to the Stadio Olimpico next month will see Lampard come up against his former Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole, who left Stamford Bridge to join Roma during the close season.
City and Roma will go into the game level on five points and Lampard said he was looking forward to crossing swords with his old ally.
"I keep in contact with Ash. I saw him obviously for the home game," said the former England midfielder.
"We exchange text messages and stuff, and I know he's enjoying his experience there. I know what the atmosphere will be like in Rome.
"I went to Rome recently for a short break and football's their life. The city is football mad and they're in the same spot as us."