Real Madrid vs Manchester City: Champions League Semi-Final
Manchester City hopes to become champions of Europe for the first time as they take on Real Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Real Madrid has history on its side, but that doesn’t mean Manchester City won’t try to compete with it anyway. The Spanish side has won 13 Champions League titles, but City coach Pep Guardiola is here for the challenge.
The two teams will meet Tuesday in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League semi-final at Ethiad Stadium. Guardiola has admitted that of course, they cannot compete with history - Madrid having played in the last four 31 times to City’s three.
“History speaks for itself,” said Guardiola. “The history is there and we cannot change it, but it’s 11 vs. 11. The players will decide. We are playing a team who have been here many times, that is why they have this, and we don’t.”
Real Madrid haven’t won in three visits to Manchester City and have just one victory in their last six away games with English sides.
“Earlier in the season, both the press and the public thought two teams now in the semi-finals had no chance of getting here,” said Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “One is Real Madrid and the other is Villarreal. The favorites were PSG, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City.”
Guardiola has four wins in six meetings with Carlo Ancelotti, all during the Italian’s time at Everton. Ancelotti won both games when Real Madrid faced Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
One key factor that City will need to overcome is Madrid’s striker Karim Benzema, who has scored 39 goals in 40 games this season. He has scored 12 goals in nine games in the Champions League, including a hat trick against Chelsea.
“To be playing at such a high level for such a long time, it’s a remarkable thing,” said City player Raheem Sterling. “And it goes to show what an incredible professional he is.”
Madrid could be without two key players with midfielder Casemiro and defender David Alaba, both in injury doubt. Without Casemiro, Madrid loses their most important defender.
“The game isn’t going to be decided on Tuesday,” said Ancelotti. “The game will be decided in the second leg at the Bernabeu. The question I have is whether to bet on three strikers or just two.”