Real Madrid tie an 'incredible test' for Man City - Guardiola

By Sports Desk December 17, 2019

Pep Guardiola described Manchester City's Champions League last-16 tie with Real Madrid as an "incredible test" for his side.

Premier League champions City have been pitted against Zinedine Zidane's men in arguably the tie of the round and will travel to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg on February 26.

Zidane led Madrid to three Champions League titles in his first spell in charge. He returned to the club in March and Madrid go into Wednesday's Clasico level on points with arch rivals Barcelona.

However, Guardiola is undaunted by the prospect of playing Madrid at a relatively early stage in the tournament. 

He told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's EFL Cup quarter-final with Oxford United: "We are happy just to be in the last 16 of the competition even if people think that's not enough.

"If you want to do well in this competition, to progress further than that, then of course you have to face this sort of opponent sooner or later

"It will be an incredible test for us but we have two months to prepare for it. Hopefully we will be in a good moment in February and we can play a good two games.

"Real Madrid have a lot more experience than us in this situation, they have played this sort of game many more times, but of course I have confidence in my players."

Asked about his counterpart in the dugout, Guardiola replied: "That never happened but I used to dream of playing with Zidane.

"He was an incredible player, and he's an incredible person. I have always admired him and it will be a pleasure to meet him again."

The Champions League draw gives Barca legend Guardiola even more of a reason to be an interested observer of the Clasico, though the EFL Cup commitments means he will have to delay his scouting assignment.

"I think both teams are in a good moment. I saw highlights. The results they arrive in a good moment and I always thought the team that plays at home has a little bit of advantage," Guardiola said of the Camp Nou clash.

"We cannot watch because we have a game but in the next days if I have time I will watch because Madrid is the next rival in the Champions League."

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