Real Madrid vs Man City - Pep thinks Man City will have more chances to win the UEFA CL

Posted Wednesday, February 26, 2020 by PA

Real Madrid vs Man City - Pep thinks Man City will have more chances to win the UEFA CL

Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City players will have plenty more opportunities to win the Champions League – despite the club’s impending ban.

City head into the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu with a cloud hanging over them after being suspended from the competition for the next two seasons.

The Premier League champions are appealing against the sanction – imposed by European governing body UEFA for Financial Fair Play breaches – but, as things stand, their current run in the event will be their last until at least 2022-23.

But, when asked if he felt this was a last chance, City manager Guardiola said: “No way! These players will have a lot of chances to win the Champions League.

“This season is a big opportunity. I know we play the king of this competition and we know the challenge in front of us but, at the same time, it’s not the last one.

“When you die, after there are no more chances. But, in life, if you are in this business and you want to train and play, you never know what is going to happen.

“There is no special motivation. Even if it was the last one there would not have to be extra motivation. The desire to win has to be there, without that it is impossible, but more than that it’s another game, that’s all.”

Guardiola confirmed that winger Raheem Sterling was fit to feature after three weeks out with a hamstring injury.

He said: “His natural condition, his regeneration is amazing. He said to us he could have played against West Ham and Leicester but the doctor said be careful.

“But he wanted to play and that’s a good sign. He’s fit, he’s ready.”

Guardiola, a two-time Champions League winner as Barcelona coach, was hailed as the best on the eve of the game by his opposite number Zinedine Zidane.

Guardiola turned that compliment around by saying he could never match Zidane’s success in winning three in a row.

He said: “Obviously I thank him for those words. I don’t want to go against what he’s saying but I never wanted to be the best. I never understood who was the best manager.

“Of course if you win you get more praise and if you lose you get more criticism.

“What Zidane has done in Europe I don’t think is going to be repeated. They won three consecutive Champions Leagues and that proves how great this club is.

“Not may clubs can compare. They try to do it on the pitch but outside it is impossible.”

Zidane is not sure if Eden Hazard will play for Real Madrid again this season.

The former Chelsea playmaker is facing another lay-off after fracturing an ankle in Real’s surprise defeat to Levante in LaLiga last weekend.

It was only the Belgian’s second appearance since November after recovering from another injury to the same ankle.

The loss of the 29-year-old, who is yet to make his mark since his £89million move from Stamford Bridge last summer, is a big blow to Zidane at the start of a crucial week.

Speaking at a press conference, Zidane said: “He loves playing football and while I can’t tell you what is in his eyes, I can see he is not happy.

“It’s important he stays positive but, of course, it’s difficult. It’s a bad moment, it won’t be easy and he will feel like that for a while.

“I do not know if he will have to go through an operation. It is not my area and I don’t know if his season is over, but I hope not.”

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