City boss Pep Guardiola ‘doesn’t fear’ Madrid


MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he “doesn’t fear” 14-time Champions League winners Real Madrid ahead of their quarterfinal second leg.

City have faced Real Madrid in each of the last three seasons, knocking them out in the semifinals a year ago but losing at the same stage in 2022.

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Real Madrid have reached at least the last four in 11 of the last 13 seasons, but Guardiola insists he’s not concerned about their stellar record in the competition ahead of the make-or-break game at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

“I don’t fear them,” Guardiola told a news conference on Tuesday. “I respect them a lot. I’ve faced them many times. I respect Real Madrid and if I say I’m scared of them, I would be false.

“There’s the rivalry, you want to beat them and do well. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But I’m not scared of them and if they beat me — as has happened many times — we will say congratulations and wish them well.”

After last week’s 3-3 draw in the first leg at the Bernabéu, there have now been 23 goals in the last five meetings between the two teams.

City beat Real Madrid 4-0 at the Etihad in the semifinal second leg last season, but Bernardo Silva insists this version of Carlo Ancelotti’s team is better.

“Two different seasons, and it never happens the same game in football again,” said Silva. “I feel Madrid is stronger this season than last season. That was my feeling when we played them at the Bernabeu [last week]. For sure they will want a bit of revenge [for the result in Manchester last season] so it will be a very difficult game.”

After making history last season by becoming only the second English team to win a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble, City remain on course to repeat it this year.

Two consecutive trebles would make Guardiola’s side a contender for the title of the greatest club team in history and Silva has admitted that the prospect is providing motivation for the City squad.

“It’s obviously an inspiration,” he added. “We know how well this team has done and we want to create that legacy and to do another Premier League to do six in seven years and four in a row and we want to win the Champions League to do two in a row and if we win two trebles in a row that would be legacy.

“In one week we could be out of all the competitions but we are fighting for it.”

Guardiola did not reveal anything about Kyle Walker, who locked down Vinicius Junior in last year’s tie with Madrid and is returning from a hamstring injury, for the second leg other than to say he would be with the team.

“I don’t know from the beginning or from the bench, but he will be with us tomorrow,” Guardiola said of Walker, describing his return as “incredibly good news.”

“You know the physicality is massively important and in football it is how you challenge your opponent,” Guardiola added.


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