The 28-year-old turned in an impressive performance as City beat Brighton 4-0, his first start since he starred on the opening day of the season against West Ham.
And Guardiola admitted the winger had a right to be disappointed about his lack of playing time in the previous two games.
“He played the first game against West Ham and was the best player,” said Pep.
“The next two games he didn’t play and it was not fair because he came back from the AFCON sharp and fit.
“He’s quality. He’s an incredibly talented player. He has something special, the vision close to the box.
“What I like the most from Riyad is he loves to play football. He is the first to arrive at training and the first to take a ball and try to play with it.
“That means a lot.”