Pep Guardiola believes his old club Barcelona are still the big favourites to win this season's Champions League ahead of Manchester City for one reason - Leo Messi.
City made it 18 Premier League victories in a row with a 1-0 win away to Newcastle United on Wednesday night, a result that puts them 15 points clear at the top of the table. Along with Barça, they are yet to lose a league match this season and breezed into the knockout phase of the Champions League in imperious fashion, with each side winning their group comfortably.
Messi makes the difference, says Pep
Guardiola, however, says the Catalans have the edge in Europe due to their Argentinean ace. Asked if City could be considered top candidates to conquer Europe this term, he replied: "Who does Messi play for? They are the favourites."
The City boss was speaking after his side totally dominated proceedings at St. James' Park but only managed to score one goal, courtesy of Raheem Sterling in the 31st minute. Despite his frustration at not killing off the game sooner, he was thrilled with the way his players kept their focus to extend their record-breaking run in England's top flight.