Pep Guardiola Manchester City manager
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Guardiola ready to take on ‘kings of the Champions League’

Pep Guardiola has said he is looking forward to the ‘tradition’ of facing Real Madrid after Manchester City were drawn to face ‘the kings of the competition’ in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Manchester City will meet the record 14-time winners in the last eight after Friday’s draw, the third consecutive campaign the teams have met in the knockout rounds.

 

Real Madrid won the first of those ties on route to winning the Champions League in 2021/22, before City exacted revenge – including a 4-0 thrashing of the Spaniards at the Etihad – in last season’s semi-finals.

City went on to beat Inter Milan in the final to win the Champions League for the first time and Guardiola has reacted to a difficult draw in his side’s defence of the trophy.

“Yeah, we don’t have another option. It looks like a little bit of a tradition, three years in a row,” he said at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Newcastle in the FA Cup.

“The kings of the competition. It is what it is. Hopefully we can arrive in a good moment. Few weeks before the first game.

“For us it’s a little new, for Madrid it’s not special to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. They’ve been quite consistent many times.

“In these stages you play the best teams in the world. It is what it is. I don’t pay much attention, all opponents would be tough. I said many times, Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga…difficult with a lot of games.”

 

First, City will continue their defence of the FA Cup and host Newcastle at the Etihad this weekend. Newcastle have struggled to match last season’s performances, in which the Magpies secured a top-four finish in the Premier League, but Guardiola is anticipating another tight game.

“Since Eddie Howe was there and the takeover, they have always been tight games. I don’t expect differently tomorrow. What happened this season, I’m not there but he’ll [Howe] take lessons for the future.”

Read – Champions League quarter-final draw: Five talking points

See more – Champions League quarter-final draw: Kane faces Arsenal

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