Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Atalanta v Manchester City - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 6, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Atalanta v Manchester City - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 6, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola praised Wednesday night’s rivals Real Madrid on the eve of their Champions League last 16 first leg tie.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane had said Guardiola was the “best coach in the world” during his press conference on Tuesday, and Guardiola was equally respectful of the Frenchman, who is unbeaten in the knockout stages of the Champions League as a coach.

“I played many times against them as a player and a manager and I always had an incredible admiration for the history of this club,” said Guardiola.

“I know how difficult it is against the quality of their players. I don’t know how many finals they have played in or how many times they have lifted the trophy,” added the coach, who said his side were facing the “kings of this competition”.

However, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also said his City side were confident and would stick to their passing game.

“We have the desire to be ourselves. We can win, we can lose but we must try to be ourselves in these 180 minutes we have to face Real Madrid,” he commented.

Neither side will have been happy with the draw, but Guardiola said that if his team wanted to win the Champions League, “we have to face these teams sooner or later”.

“Today it is the last 16, but it might be the quarterfinals, semifinals or final. You have to beat Real or Barcelona or Bayern; you have to beat the big clubs in these competitions,” added the Manchester City coach. Enditem

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