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By ESPN Staff

Give Atletico striker Aguero time to develop says Maxi

MADRID, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Argentina forward Maxi Rodriguez says that undue pressure should not be heaped on his compatriot and Atletico Madrid team mate Sergio Aguero, after the young striker drew widespread praise in Sunday's 4-1 away win at Athletic Bilbao.

The 18-year-old put in an impressive performance scoring his first official goal for Atletico, having a hand in a second and winning a penalty near the end of the comprehensive success.

'He's top class and we all hope he continues like this. But we have to be patient with him. We don't want to weigh him down with expectation because he will have off-days as well,' Maxi was quoted as saying on the Atletico Web site on Tuesday.

Aguero, known as 'El Kun' after a Japanese comic book hero, signed for Atletico from Independiente for a reported fee of $25-30 million at the end of May.

He has been touted as one of Argentina's most exciting prospects and has been described by Diego Maradona as a 'phenomenon'.

Atletico coach Javier Aguirre had resisted calls to play him from the start before Sunday, restricting him to substitute appearances, but with Spain striker Fernando Torres suspended, Aguirre gave Aguero his starting place.

Maxi, who scored the spectacular volleyed winner for Argentina against Mexico at the World Cup finals, pounced on Aguero's miscued shot for the opener in San Mames.

After Martin Petrov had added the second, Aguero cut inside his marker to score the third with a fierce shot, and was then hauled down in the area as he bore in on goal, for a last-minute penalty scored by Luciano Galletti.

The three points put Atletico seventh in the Primera Liga with two wins and a draw from their opening three matches, while Bilbao are 18th in the 20-team division, with just one point from their opening three games.