River Plate manager Marcelo Gallardo has made a desperate, tongue-in-cheek, request to Pep Guardiola after seeing Manchester City-bound striker Julian Alvarez net six goals in one game on Wednesday.

Alvarez will join City in July for pre-season, boosting their attack along with Erling Haaland for next season. There had been talk of Alvarez staying at River plate until the end of the Argentinian season in July, but City have been clear of their plan to have a look at him in July.

And given his latest heroics, it’s likely they will be pleased with what they see, as Alvarez broke two records on the way to a double hat-trick in River’s final Copa Libertadores group game. In an 8-1 win, Alvarez netted six goals, with a hat-trick either side of half-time.

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For his first, Alvarez intercepted the ball in the final third, laid it off and made a clever run into the area. When the ball was returned to him, on the shoulder of the defender, Alvarez was running away from goal but reversed his finish nicely into the corner.

His second saw him slide in to meet a cross eight yards out, in between two defenders, before his hat-trick goal was a brilliant long-range shot that arrowed into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

After the break, following a fourth goal for River, Alvarez had four as he charged down the goalkeeper, took advantage of a heavy touch, and converted from a tight angle. A fifth came as Alvarez was played in down the left into the box, before he let the ball bounce across him and lifted a lovely touch over the goalkeeper with the outside of his boot from the corner of the area.

And to complete his record-breaking double hat-trick – no River player has ever scored six in a game – Alvarez made a run from deep, collecting the ball on the edge of the area, taking it past two players with clever dummies, and finishing emphatically into the bottom corner.

Watch all six of Alvarez’s goals here:

All six goals showed different qualities of an out-and-out striker, showing City what they have missed up front in the last two seasons. As well as setting the club record, Alvarez’s feat ties the Copa Libertadores record of goals in a game, set in 1985.

Alvarez will likely be available for River’s last-16 tie, before making the switch to Manchester. However, his manager Gallardo joked after the game that River would be extremely grateful if City would consider letting him stay until the end of 2022.

“It is difficult for Julián to stay because there is a team that made a great investment, Manchester City takes a diamond in the rough. We are countries that export soccer players, many soccer players have left us in this time and we have tried to survive all those games. Replacing Julián is not going to be easy, we are not going to find a Julián to take his place”.

“We have to be aware that it is very possible that he will play the round of 16 of the Cup and that he will go to his new destination, it is so. What happens does not depend on me or what we can do.

“If they want to loan us the player until the end of the year, we have no problem and we will be very grateful. We tell them that we are going to prepare a footballer who is already clearly mature to make the jump, but we could give him even more flight. But Guardiola won’t listen to my request. We would be very grateful if you can leave us Julián until the end of the year!”

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