Guardiola and Zidane exchange praise ahead of Real Madrid vs Manchester City
Zidane’s Real monopolised Europe’s most coveted trophy between 2016 and 2018 until the Frenchman resigned in the aftermath of his side’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 final, only to rejoin the club 10 months later.Updated: Feb 26, 2020 11:34 IST
Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said no club will repeat Real Madrid’s feat of three consecutive Champions League wins as he and opposite number Zinedine Zidane showered each other with praise ahead of Wednesday’s crunch clash in the Spanish capital.
Zidane’s Real monopolised Europe’s most coveted trophy between 2016 and 2018 until the Frenchman resigned in the aftermath of his side’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in the 2018 final, only to rejoin the club 10 months later.
“What he’s done in Europe will not be repeated. Winning the Champions League three times in a row proves how great this club is,” Guardiola said ahead of the last-16 first leg clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“It goes generation after generation. But you know the love they have for the competition, it’s impossible to compete with them. They’ve done it for three years, they are the best in this competition and facing them is a huge challenge.”
Guardiola was once the master of the Champions League, lifting the trophy with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011 in his fledgling years as a coach.
But the Catalan has not won it since, losing three semi-finals with Bayern Munich and never getting past the last eight in three attempts with City, although he has amassed eight league titles across Spain, Germany and England.
Earlier on Tuesday, Zidane hailed his opposite number as the greatest manager in the world and recalled visiting Guardiola in 2015 at Bayern with a group of French coaches.
“We talked about his training sessions, how he managed the team and he was very sincere with us. We were inspired with the work he was doing, he motivated us even more,” Zidane remembered.
“There are so many great coaches, but for me he is the best.”
City head into the tie knowing this could be their last chance in the near future to win the Champions League after they were hit with a two-year ban from European competition for breaking UEFA’s rules on financial fair play.
Guardiola reiterated that City will appeal against the ban and reaffirmed his trust in City’s directors, also dismissing the suggestion that the sanction would make his side more motivated to win the competition.
“We were under suspicion for a long time but as I said when it happened we have the right to appeal and I trust the people in my club,” he said.
“I’m sure these players will have more opportunities but this is a great opportunity. We have prepared the two games, we want to be ourselves and play a great game. We have no special motivation, we always want to win but this is another game.”