‘Exceptional’ Guardiola Awaits  Real Test at Etihad

‘Exceptional’ Guardiola Awaits  Real Test at Etihad

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said that his “legacy is exceptional” as he prepares for tonight’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Real Madrid. 

Treble-chasing City, who have never been European champions, drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu in last Tuesday’s first leg. 

Guardiola has won two Champions Leagues as a manager, with Barcelona in 2009 and 2011. 

“I have been here many times,” he said. 

“My legacy is exceptional already. I have told the players to enjoy the moment – we are incredibly lucky to be here. 

“It’s in our hands, it depends on us, we don’t have to do something exceptional – just win one game to reach the final. 

“I have an incredible feeling about them. Whatever happens – thank you so much to them for bringing me and the City fans here again”. 

Statisticians Opta give Manchester City, who are unbeaten in 22 games, a 69% chance of reaching the final and 45% chance of winning the tournament, making them favourites. 

They say Real have a 15% chance of becoming European champions for an unprecedented 15th time. 

City are one win away from the Premier League title – which would be their fifth in six years – and face Manchester United in the FA Cup final. They are looking to match United’s league, cup and Champions League Treble of 1999. 

Guardiola, who won the Treble with Barcelona in 2008-09, got City to the Champions League final two years ago where they lost to Chelsea

Last year they lost 6-5 on aggregate after extra time in the semi-finals to Real Madrid having led by two goals in the 90th minute. 

“I said when I signed the contract seven years ago, they didn’t tell me to win the Champions League. All the people said the reason why they brought me here with my staff was to do the best possible,” Guardiola said. 

“But of course, we cannot deny we have won all the titles except this one. Of course we want it. It is another opportunity from two seasons ago when we lost the final against Chelsea, against Madrid the season before. Of course we want it with all the desire. 

“People say we are close enough, I think we are far away. 

“It’s a dream come true to be here. Nobody in the future can guarantee we will be here. Nobody can assure us. So once we are there, let’s go. With our people, I am pretty sure will do it.” 

Real are playing an English team for a sixth Champions League knockout tie in a row, beating Liverpool in last year’s final after knocking out Chelsea and City, while this season they have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea. 

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