Football

Champions League preview | Manchester City targets role reversal

Superb record: Though Real has surrendered dominance in La Liga to Barca, it made amends for one Spanish title in seven years by winning four Champions Leagues out of the last six.

Superb record: Though Real has surrendered dominance in La Liga to Barca, it made amends for one Spanish title in seven years by winning four Champions Leagues out of the last six.  

Real Madrid’s record is the envy of Europe; Lyon locks horns with Juventus

Manchester City will be up against both Real Madrid and its reputation on Wednesday as the Champions League’s biggest winner plays one of its biggest underachiever at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After City’s win over Leicester on Saturday, Pep Guardiola said: “We will try to be ourselves. We can win and we can lose but we must try to be ourselves.”

Yet in some ways, City will seek a role reversal too.

 

Real’s record is the envy of Europe but in particular by teams like City, whose financial might and technical talent has translated only into disappointment outside domestic competition.

In the time City has won three Premier League titles and five domestic cups, it has gone past the Champions League’s quarterfinals only once, reaching the last four in 2016, only to be beaten by Real.

Zinedine Zidane’s side, meanwhile, have surrendered dominance in La Liga to Barcelona but made amends for one Spanish league title in seven years by winning four Champions Leagues out of the last six.

Few would argue that quality explains the difference. Madrid’s success has certainly been due in part to the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo but City has perhaps boasted an even better all-round collection of players and their excellence in England points to a club well-equipped to excel in Europe.

Ruthless

Real believes this tournament is its own, a conviction based on historic success that makes it assured under pressure and ruthless in the decisive moments.

“When you have a history of the (Alfredo) di Stefano period, winning five or six European Cups at that time, it means a new player that comes to Real Madrid and puts on that shirt knows ‘we have to defend our history’,” said Guardiola.

‘Extraordinary’

Anthony Lopes described Cristiano Ronaldo as “extraordinary”, and the Lyon goalkeeper knows how big a job he faces keeping his Portuguese international colleague quiet when the French side faces Juventus.

“I have been lucky enough to play alongside him. He is the captain and an extraordinary personality, a great man,” Lopes said when asked about playing with Ronaldo.

“I have gone to major tournaments with him, the Euro and the World Cup, where you have to develop links to those around you, and to do what he does every day is quite incredible,” Lopes added.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:06:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/champions-league-preview-manchester-city-targets-role-reversal/article30915914.ece

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