AS INTERVIEW | ADEBAYOR

Adebayor: "With Cristiano, Real Madrid would have been favourites against City..."

The former Madrid and Manchester City forward sat down with AS to preview the Champions League tie. "Mourinho struggled to find a place for me at Madrid".

Adebayor: "With Cristiano, Real Madrid would have been favourites against City..."

Emmanuel Adebayor sat down to chat with AS about this weekend's Champions League meeting between two of his old clubs - Real Madrid and Manchester City. The forward joined Madrid from City on loan in the 2011 winter transfer window when José Mourinho was at the helm of the Spanish club. He was never a star player in Mourinho's Madrid but certainly made a valuable contribution, scoring eight goals and playing a key role in that season's Copa del Rey final against Barça. Adebayor is currently without a club after leaving Paraguayan outfit, Olimpia.

You are still active and playing football, aged 36; what is a typical day in your life like?

A normal day for me is getting up, brushing my teeth, having a shower, relaxing...

You have played for many different clubs all over the world... which one left the biggest mark on you?

I've played for Monaco, Arsenal and City, among other teams before coming to Madrid and so I could see the difference. Madrid is way ahead of the rest. I enjoyed a wonderful experience there. I love Real Madrid and I would like to go back and say my goodbyes when I get the chance. Signing for Madrid was the best moment of my life. But in the end, it was the place where I played the least football of my career - nevertheless it was the club which left the biggest mark on me. The organization was incredible, how I was treated, the affection from the fans... Everything.

Do you think Madrid can turn the City tie around?

If you had asked me that question two years ago, I would have said yes. Madrid would have been favourite with Cristiano. Back then, they had Cristaino who is a goal machine. He can make the difference at any moment and he would give team 50 goals a season. They lost the first leg at home, at the Bernabéu 1-2, and it's going to be very difficult with the fans, against Manchester City, the city, the weather... but it's not impossible. Madrid have players with a lot of experience like Marcelo, Benzema, Courtois and they are used to playing in big games like this one.

Could you understand why Madrid sold Cristiano?

Without Cristiano, Madrid know what they have lost, but maybe not what they could have won if he was still there. I think maybe they thought they would get another player like Ronaldo but players like him only come along once every 200 years.

Do you think Benzema can supply the goals Madrid need against City?

When Ronaldo left, he had to take up the responsibility and I think he's done really well. He's scored a lot of goals, important goals so he'll be a danger, no doubt about it.

Do you think Manchester City deserved to win the first leg at the Bernabéu?

The first half was quite close, but it all happened in 50 minutes. Madrid were 1-0 up, then City levelled then Sergio Ramos was sent off. Those those only happen in big games and I think we are in for a great game in the return leg. I thought City were excellent in the final part of the match and deserved to win.

One last question. Do you think Madrid grew as a club under Mourinho?

I love Mourinho, we had a great relationship and he was the one who brought me to Madrid, although it wasn't easy for him to find a place for me in the side. The only trophy I have ever won was at Madrid with him. Now he's at Tottenham and I wish him the best of luck. He is the best coach in the history of football.

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