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Guardiola insists Real Madrid tie is not a ‘revenge’ mission

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid is not a ‘revenge’ mission for last season’s defeat to the Spanish side.

City travel to face the European champions in the first leg of their semi-final tie on Tuesday evening, in a rematch of last season’s classic contest at the same stage.


Guardiola’s side lost 6-5 on aggregate to Real Madrid, who staged a last-gasp fightback to force extra-time in the second leg. City had led by two goals heading into the 90th minute at the Bernabeu, but Rodrygo’s dramatic double stunned the Citizens, before Karim Benzema’s goal settled the tie in extra-time.

Ahead of this evening’s encounter, Guardiola reflected on that dramatic defeat but insisted ‘revenge’ is not added motivation for his side.

“We arrived here last season with encouragement to get to the final,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.

“We played really good in both games. But it was not enough. But what happened in the past is the past. We are not here for revenge. It’s just another opportunity.

“As much as we are here, one day we will get it. One day we will reach the final and we will win it. We come here to do this this season.

“Last season we also came here to reach the final and win it. But it didn’t happen because we played against Real Madrid and in this competition they know exactly what they have to do.

“As much as we play against them or the other top teams in Europe, much closer we will be.”

Guardiola opened up on his determination to win a maiden Champions League title at City this season, with the club having suffered near misses across the last two seasons. The Spaniard has not won the competition since winning the second of two titles at Barcelona in 2011, but admits he has been pleased with City’s recent consistency in reaching the latter stages.

“I would say, seven years ago when I arrived we wanted to win the Champions League, definitely,” he said. “And the year after. And the year after. So we want it, definitely.

“But the same last season, not changed much because of what happened or the final we lost against Chelsea two seasons ago.

“We want it. Last season it was the end of the world and here we are again.

“I would not like to have a team that won the Champions League one day and then after stay ten years without playing the Champions League or go down, down and down.

“There are clubs in Europe who invest just to win the Champions League and after that they don’t win the Champions League and the leagues and then they go down and down.

“Being stable is the most important thing. Madrid, for example, every season they are there. That is the best – of course they win it – but being there.

“Like Barcelona in the past, all the time was there, or Liverpool, all the time is there. That for me means a club is stable, healthy and when you are quite often here.

“We want it this season, for sure. Like what happened last season. It’s a process. I would love to have won in the past, already.

“What is important is to be stable, getting better every season.”

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