Manchester City face a battle to retain their Champions League crown after being held to a thrilling 3-3 draw by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital.

The holders twice led in an enthralling contest under the Bernabeu Stadium’s new roof but the quarter-final remains on a knife edge after Federico Valverde gave the hosts a deserved share of the spoils.

Bernardo Silva got City off to a flying start but a Ruben Dias own goal and Rodrygo effort sent Real in at half-time of Tuesday’s first leg 2-1 ahead.

Phil Foden equalised for City with a brilliant strike and Josko Gvardiol put them back in front but Valverde had the final word to set up another intriguing contest at Etihad Stadium next week.

City missed the creativity and influence of Kevin De Bruyne who, having been feeling unwell, was sick soon after the team arrived at the stadium.

That forced manager Pep Guardiola to make a late change to his plans and bring Mateo Kovacic into the starting line-up.

The visitors initially seemed unaffected both by that and the raucous atmosphere Real had attempted to amplify by closing the roof at their newly-remodelled 85,000-capacity arena.

They were quickly onto the front foot and were given their early chance to take the lead when Aurelien Tchouameni crudely halted Jack Grealish to earn a booking that will keep him out of the second leg.

With Real failing to form a wall, Silva took full advantage and caught goalkeeper Andriy Lunin napping as he thumped a left-foot shot into the bottom corner after just two minutes.

City went close to adding a second as Erling Haaland had a shot saved from a tight angle and Grealish’s follow-up effort was blocked.

It had seemed the perfect start for City but Real hit back with two quickfire goals.

The equaliser came after a patient build-up as Eduardo Camavinga charged forward and fired a long-range shot that took a wicked deflection off Dias and gave Stefan Ortega – starting despite Ederson’s presence on the bench – no chance.

The hosts grabbed the lead just moments later as Rodrygo broke clear down the left and outpaced the backtracking Manuel Akanji before delicately poking the ball past Ortega.

Real threatened again as Valverde shot at Ortega and Rodrygo put another effort over.

City began to get sloppy in possession as Real upped the pressure. The normally solid Rodri looked laboured and Vinicius Junior tested Ortega before the break.

Grealish cut inside but missed the target as City tried to re-establish themselves early in the second half but Real regained control with Jude Bellingham and Vinicius going close.

Lesser sides could have folded but City underlined their enduring class as they not only weathered the storm but pulled themselves back into the game with a stunning strike from Foden.

The England international, who had been enduring a frustrating game, caught Lunin unaware as he lashed a ferocious strike into the top corner from outside the area after 66 minutes.

It was soon to get better for City as Gvardiol bagged his first goal for the club with an equally thunderous long-range effort five minutes later.

Yet, in keeping with a compelling encounter, it was not to be the end of the scoring as Real responded yet again.

This time Valverde was the player on target as he met a Vinicius cross with a fine volley that flew past Ortega.

Luis Enrique has no qualms over going into battle with former club Barcelona as he attempts to end Paris St Germain’s quest for Champions League glory.

The 53-year-old Spaniard guided Barca, for whom he had made 300 appearances as a player, to European glory as manager in 2015 and was handed the task of repeating the feat with the big-spending French champions last summer.

The two sides go head-to-head in the first leg of their quarter-final showdown at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday evening with no question over where Enrique’s loyalties lie.

He told a press conference: “Of course I like Barcelona, but I’m very pleased to be here at PSG. I just need to focus on my job and this team and building confidence here.

“I think I’m capable of bringing trophies to this club and I’m full of desire to be at the top level in this tie.”

Enrique’s former team-mate Xavi – who he sent on as a late replacement for Andres Iniesta in the 3-1 2015 final victory over Juventus in Berlin – will be in the away dugout as the Catalan giants attempt to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2019.

However, the PSG boss is not convinced his inside knowledge will do him any good.

Enrique, who will be without the suspended Achraf Hakimi, said: “I have to say that I don’t know Xavi at all as a coach. I know about him as a player – he was my team-mate – I know about him as a footballer, but not as a coach.

“I know the club very well, I know Barcelona and the players, but I don’t know if that could be an advantage. Maybe it could be the opposite.”

PSG, who are on a 27-game unbeaten run in all competitions, have not made the quarter-finals in three seasons, while five-time winners Barca have gone out in the group stage in each of the last two campaigns.

The sides are meeting in the last eight for the fourth time with Barca having come out on top in the last two in 2012-13 and 2014-15, with the French giants getting the better of their Spanish opponents back in 1994-95.

PSG held sway the last time they were last paired together – in the last 16 – three seasons ago when Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick secured a 4-1 first-leg victory at the Nou Camp after Lionel Messi had opened the scoring from the penalty spot before both men scored in a 1-1 draw in the return.

However, perhaps the most remarkable tie in which the two clubs have been involved came at the same stage of the 2016-17 campaign when the Catalan giants returned from the Parc des Princes on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline to win 6-1 on home turf.

Barcelona reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four years after beating Napoli in the round of 16 and boss Xavi was feeling the “excitement” for Wednesday’s tie.

“I think the word for tomorrow, after being out of the quarter-finals for four years, is excitement,” he said in a press conference.

“We can dream and we are very motivated.

“We are enjoying our best form of the season and we will face a team prepared to win the Champions League with one of the better coaches in Luis Enrique. I have all the respect in the world for them.”

UEFA insists this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as scheduled amid an Islamic State terror threat.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will host the first leg of the Gunners’ last-eight tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, while Manchester City are also in action away to Real Madrid.

A media outlet linked to the terror group has issued a threat concerning all four of this week’s ties, and European football’s governing body UEFA has now issued a statement on the matter.

“UEFA is aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week’s UEFA Champions League matches and is closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues,” the statement said.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

Real Madrid have asked for permission to close the Bernabeu Stadium’s new retractable roof for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with holders Manchester City.

It is thought the record 14-time winners of the competition hope playing under the optional covering of their newly-redeveloped arena can enhance the atmosphere and make it more intimidating for the visitors.

The PA news agency understands Real have approached organisers UEFA with the request and the European governing body will consider it, in collaboration with the referee, on the morning of the quarter-final first-leg encounter.

Some Real players have also been urging supporters to wear the club’s traditional white in the build-up to add a further strong visual element to the environment at the 81,000-capacity stadium.

Real previously had the roof closed for their last-16 second leg against Leipzig last month.

If a decision is made to close the roof, it will remain closed for the entire match. City are not thought to have any influence in the matter.

Pep Guardiola has urged his Manchester City side to hurt and punish Real Madrid as they clash again in the Champions League.

The holders take on the competition’s record 14-time winners in the first leg of their quarter-final at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

It is the third successive season the two clubs have met in the knockout stages, with Real having staged a stunning comeback to win the 2022 semi-final but City avenging that loss 12 months later.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference in the Spanish capital, Guardiola said: “It’s the same managers, but we have new players and they have new players, so they will be completely different games.

“We have a little advantage with the second leg at home, where we play strong and are incredibly confident, but we have to play 90 minutes here and the games are long for different reasons.

“They will be able to press high, so aggressive, so dangerous. Everybody knows their strengths and they have incredible pace.

“We cannot come here just to control the game. We have to come here to try to hurt them, to punish them, to let them feel we are here and score goals. That is what we have to do.

“But we are talking about Real Madrid, who have the ability to control many aspects of the game. We have to impose our game with who we are.”

City midfielder Rodri feels the treble winners have learned from their past experiences of playing the Spanish giants and are a stronger proposition as a result of last season’s successes.

The Spain international, who joined City from Real’s city rivals Atletico in 2019, said: “Now we are more mature and have experience of winning the competition. It gives you a bit more composure, serenity on the pitch.

“You learn. We’ve learned from the past and I think we have more maturity than when we first played them.

“The one we lost – the semi-final – that was (because of) 10 or 15 minutes and it happens.

“We didn’t think much about that last year. We played with the desire to win it again and that’s what happened.

“We come here with a different mentality and more composure.

“We know nothing will be done tomorrow, but we need to get a good result. I see the team more mature and the experience will give us the confidence to do things well.”

City are again without England full-back Kyle Walker in Spain due to a thigh injury, while fellow defender Nathan Ake is also out with a calf problem. Josko Gvardiol has travelled with the squad but is doubtful with a knock.

Thomas Tuchel has warned Arsenal that Bayern Munich “want to cause them pain” in their Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

The Bayern boss, who managed Chelsea between 2021 and 2022, returns to London to face the Premier League leaders on Tuesday.

Tuchel’s side trail Bundesliga table-toppers Bayer Leverkusen by 16 points after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Heidenheim.

Despite a lacklustre league campaign, Tuchel insists his team can hurt the Gunners.

“Arsenal are currently the best team in the Premier League and that is deserved, all the data shows that,” Tuchel told a press conference on Monday.

“They are in great form and have been at the highest level for the last two seasons so it’s a massive test for us.

“It’s the second year for them where they’re playing at this really high level, they have so much energy on the pitch and they can keep it for a long time.

“We know about our own strengths and how we want to cause them pain. We know the Champions League is a competition where we have more experience over the last few years. We want to use it to our advantage.”

Arsenal finished fifth during Tuchel’s first full season as Chelsea manager in 2021-22.

Tuchel credited Gunners boss Mikel Arteta as the reason behind their rise in recent years.

“There’s been a complete change in culture since Arteta joined, it is clear what way the club wanted to go with him and the club are harvesting that,” he added.

“It was a difficult start, but the team stood by him and they overcame the difficult phase.

“Tactically they are at a very high level, they are very stable against the ball. You have to give them a big compliment.

“We will try to be strong nonetheless. The style in the Champions League is different to that in the Premier League.”

Former Manchester City winger Leroy Sane worked alongside Arteta, who was Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager until 2019, at the Etihad Stadium.

Sane credited the current Arsenal boss for developing him as a young player.

He said: “It was great and I was pleased to work with him because he helped me a lot at City. We had some talks about how I can improve in my game, what my weakness and strengths are.

“I think I made huge improvements because of the ideas he had and what he gave to me. I still keep them in my mind.”

Real Madrid enter their Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City as favourites due to their counterattacking prowess, believes former City loanee Kiki Musampa.

City became European champions for the first time last season as they won the treble, and they are seen by many as strong favourites to retain their crown this campaign.

However, Pep Guardiola's men have been handed a tough draw in the last eight, facing 14-time winners Madrid with a semi-final tie against Arsenal or Bayern Munich on the line.

It will be the third successive season in which City and Madrid have faced off in the Champions League's knockout stages following semi-final ties in 2021-22 and 2022-23, with the Santiago Bernabeu playing host to the first leg on Tuesday.

While Madrid have only won one of their last six Champions League matches against City (one draw, four defeats), Musampa – who spent the 2005-06 season on loan at the Etihad from Atletico Madrid – does not feel Los Blancos can ever be described as underdogs.

Musampa, an ambassador for ANF Sports, said: "I'm very excited. It's a very complicated and difficult game because Madrid are always Madrid. 

"I have experienced them in Spain and no matter how their form is or what type of players they have, they will always be the favourites and you need to be at your best, all of you, to beat Madrid in these games."

City's average possession share of 71.26 per cent is comfortably the highest in the Champions League proper this season, with Madrid ranking sixth by that metric with 57.37 per cent. 

However, Madrid's 31 direct attacks are at least 11 more than any other team has recorded in this edition of the competition (Bayern have 20), and Musampa feels their dynamism may give them the edge.

"One team will want to play, that's City, and Madrid are comfortable with dropping back and trying to counterattack," he said. 

"So, it's interesting from a tactical point of view. What will City do? We have seen a lot of times that they are vulnerable when the opponent is counterattacking them. 

"Nowadays, with Liverpool, I think Madrid are one of the best counterattacking teams. So, I think in the end it's going to be a very difficult game for City, but I hope they go through."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is braced for Bayern Munich setting aside their Bundesliga struggles to produce their best possible performance in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The six-time European champions have endured a disappointing domestic campaign and travel to Emirates Stadium for Tuesday’s first leg on the cusp of relinquishing the German title for the first time in 12 years.

Bayern boss Thomas Tuchel is poised to depart his role at the end of the season, with his team currently 16 points adrift of leaders Bayer Leverkusen following four defeats in their last eight league outings.

Asked if the opposition’s poor form was relevant to the European tie, Arteta replied: “From my side, no.

“It’s something we have no say in, no control of. We just expect all the time the best from your opponent.

“Against Bayern, against any opponent, regardless of where they are you always have to expect that they play in their best possible way and be prepared to out perform them.

“Football is such a competitive environment and difficult to be consistent that this can happen to anybody.

“They are a top team. I am a big admirer of Thomas: his teams, the way they set up, the way they play, what they transmit.

“We have to take our game where we want it and if we do that we’ll have a chance to win.”

German champions-elect Leverkusen – managed by Xabi Alonso – thumped Bayern 3-0 in February en route to building their runaway lead.

Spaniard Arteta was coy on whether he had approached compatriot Alonso for advice on how to defeat the Bavarian club.

“Great question but I’m not going to answer that,” he replied with a smile.

Arteta is relishing the pivotal final weeks of the season, with his Premier League leaders chasing a domestic and European double.

The Gunners have not played at this stage of the Champions League since the 2009-10 season and were hammered 5-1 on each of their previous three meetings with Bayern, in 2015 and both legs of a 2017 last-16 tie.

Arteta, who was a non-playing member of Arsene Wenger’s squad for the first of those thrashings, has little interest in dwelling on the past as he strives for silverware.

“It’s irrelevant, we just focus on the performance that we have to put in to beat a top and exceptional team with exceptional individuals,” he said.

“We have to earn every right to try to make it happen.

“We haven’t been in this position for 14 years. For this club it’s a long, long time and we realise that and that’s why we have this hunger and desire to make it happen.

“This is where we want to be. We are in a really good position in the Premier League and we’re in a really good position in the Champions League.

“We have a big task ahead of us against one of the most successful clubs in Europe. That’s the hurdle we have to overcome and we’re looking forward to it.”

Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus believes it is unfair to compare his goal-scoring statistics to the “best finisher in the world” Harry Kane.

Prolific Bayern Munich striker Kane will return to north London for the first time since leaving Tottenham last summer for Tuesday evening’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Emirates Stadium.

Spurs’ all-time record scorer has continued his red-hot form in Germany, registering 38 goals in all competitions during a disappointing campaign by the Bundesliga club’s high standards.

Jesus has hit the net just eight times for Arsenal in that time but has often been deployed on the wing.

The Brazil international feels he offers alternative qualities to both Kane and Manchester City star Erling Haaland.

“Even if I’m playing in the position like they play in every game, I think it’s unfair (to compare) because we are different types of player,” he said.

“Not many people want to look at the game like that. I have played this season maybe 40 per cent on the wing.

“People only want to know the result and if I score or not. That’s football today.

“People want stats. It’s not only with me but with a lot of strikers. I will never complain or compare with someone, I will always try to work.

“Everyone here knows the quality of Harry Kane. For me personally, he’s the best finisher in the world.

“It’s great to play against these types of players. Obviously we want to keep him quiet and then we try to win the game.

“But it’s not only Harry Kane. They have quality players there.”

Arsenal have reached this stage of the competition for the first time in 14 years and top of the Premier League table on goal difference.

Jesus is content to set aside his ego in order to aid the Gunners’ pursuit of domestic and European glory.

“This part of the season, you don’t have to think about yourself, you have to think about the team,” he said.

“I just want to win.

“I want to be on the pitch of course but this part of the season you have to put away your ego and help the team.”

While Arsenal are in contention to become top-flight champions for the first time in 20 years, Bayern’s quest for a 12th successive Bundesliga title is effectively over as they sit 16 points adrift of leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Jesus dismissed suggestions the Gunners are favourites to progress.

“No team in the world is perfect,” replied the 27-year-old when asked about Bayern’s league form.

“Everyone knows their history, they won a lot of titles.

“Everyone knows the quality of the club, the amazing quality of the players. It doesn’t matter if they struggled, they are still Bayern and they can hurt us.

“I don’t think we are favourites. We are talking about Bayern, we have to respect them.

“In the same way we respect them, they respect us as well so I think there is no favourite. It will be a big game and a huge battle.”

Veteran Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti admits he is nervous ahead of his side’s Champions League clash with Manchester City.

The record 14-time winners host the current holders in the first leg of their quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

It is the third season in succession the two clubs have met in the knockout stages, with Real claiming a remarkable comeback victory in the 2022 semi-finals but City avenging that loss in emphatic fashion 12 months later.

The game will be Ancelotti’s 200th as manager in a competition he has won a record four times, but he recognises it will not be straightforward.

The Italian, whose side are eight points clear at the top of LaLiga, said at a press conference: “Yes, very nervous. The hours before a match are a time when you have to suffer.

“I was thinking the other day that defeat is suffering and victory is happiness, but it’s not that way. Victory is relief.

“It’s happiness if you win trophies, but an isolated victory is a relief.

“You’re calmer and happier the days after, but suffering is part of your job. It’s what keeps you alive. It’s fuel for me.”

The 64-year-old comes up against the manager perceived as the best of his generation in Pep Guardiola who, after his two previous successes with Barcelona, now has three Champions League triumphs to his name.

Ancelotti insists he is not interested in comparisons.

He said: “Guardiola is a great coach, I don’t care much about what they think of me. I care what my club thinks.

“But Guardiola is a great coach and there’s no doubt about that.”

Madrid took the lead in the first leg of last year’s tie but City hit back to claim a draw before winning convincingly 4-0 in the return at the Etihad Stadium.

Ancelotti said: “We didn’t play with courage and personality, which are fundamental aspects in this kind of game. We lacked that in the second leg.

“They put a lot of pressure on us up front and we didn’t find alternative solutions. We want to avoid these things in this tie.

“I’m confident we’re going to give our best. We have the quality to compete.

“We expect to be superior in some aspects and they will be superior in others.”

Madrid are a different proposition this season following the signing of England midfielder Jude Bellingham, who has made a stunning impact in the Spanish capital.

Ancelotti said: “He’s having a very good season in the penalty box.

“He’s physically very strong and he’s helping us a lot in the defensive aspects and up front, to create space and provide movement.

“He’s very mature. He’s only 20 years old but he’s very professional, very serious and humble.”

Bayern Munich forward Serge Gnabry is relishing a reunion with mentor Mikel Arteta and has backed former club Arsenal to be one of European football’s leading sides for the foreseeable future.

Gnabry played alongside current Gunners boss Arteta under Arsene Wenger after joining the north London club in 2012 at the age of 16.

The Germany international, who is preparing to return to Emirates Stadium for Tuesday evening’s Champions League quarter-final first leg, has fond memories of being tutored by the Spanish tactician.

“He’s now fully absorbed in his role as coach and thinks very strategically,” Gnabry said of Arteta, speaking to Bayern’s website.

“In my time, he was already an experienced player. He was the captain, a leader who spoke to everyone and communicated a lot.

“He was very helpful to us as young players back then. He built us up, always gave us good tips, always tried to guide us so that we stayed focused and gave everything.”

Arsenal’s quest for European glory comes amid a thrilling three-way tussle for the Premier League title with Liverpool and Manchester City.

“Arsenal have had what it takes to play at the top again for a long time,” continued Gnabry.

“The team has a certain flair and exudes strength. The odds are probably 50-50.

“They’re formidable in their own stadium with their fans behind them. It will be a difficult task, with two strong teams coming up against each other.

“It’s a do-or-die game – that’s where we’re usually particularly strong. Reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League would give us a huge boost. It’s our big goal.

“I’m really looking forward to it. During the draw, I said it was bound to happen. I’m extremely happy to be going there again after almost eight years.”

Gnabry has suffered an injury-hit season and, despite registering three goals in four Bundesliga appearances since his latest return, Bayern’s title defence has effectively ended.

He also endured a frustrating time with Arsenal, being restricted to just 10 Premier League appearances and spending an unsuccessful loan spell with West Brom before returning to his homeland with Werder Bremen in 2016.

The 28-year-old, who moved on to Bayern a year later, has no regrets about the bold choice he made as a teenager.

“That time had a huge impact on me,” he said.

“Daring to leave my familiar surroundings at 16 was a huge step, both on a personal and footballing level.

“Playing for a club like Arsenal was a great privilege at the time.

“Of course there were ups and downs, but I enjoyed my time there and got to know a lot of fantastic people. In the end, it was the right decision.”

Martin Odegaard insists Arsenal do not fear in-form Harry Kane ahead of his hotly-anticipated north London return with Bayern Munich.

England captain Kane will almost certainly get a hostile reception at the Emirates Stadium during Tuesday evening’s Champions League quarter-final first leg given his long association with fierce rivals Tottenham.

The 30-year-old has hit 38 goals in all competitions since swapping Spurs for Bavaria last summer and poses a serious threat to the Gunners’ aspirations of progressing in Europe.

“(He’s) a good player, of course, and I have played against him a few times and we know the quality he has in the box and he is also good in the link up,” said Arsenal skipper Odegaard.

“We are facing a good team on Tuesday.

“I think we should respect him but I don’t think we should fear anyone and we should focus on ourselves and the quality we have in our team. And that is all.”

Kane is Tottenham’s all-time record scorer, having hit 280 goals in 435 appearances, including 14 in 19 outings against Arsenal.

Despite continuing his fine individual form in Germany, Bayern’s quest to become Bundesliga champions for a 12th successive season is effectively over.

Thomas Tuchel’s men surrendered a two-goal lead to suffer a shock 3-2 defeat at Heidenheim on Saturday and sit 16 points adrift of leaders Bayer Leverkusen with just six fixtures remaining.

“They have had some strange results in the league but if you look at the team, you can see the quality they have, and we know that, we know they are a really strong side,” said Odegaard.

“Really good individual players as well. It will be a tough battle. But we are ready.

“Every game we play there are some good challenges and we play in the best league in the world.

“They are a good team and a lot of good attacking players and it will be a big night.”

While Bayern have endured a disappointing domestic campaign, Arsenal are in a three-way tussle for the Premier League title with Liverpool and Manchester City.

Odegaard believes summer signings David Raya, Declan Rice and Kai Havertz have helped the Gunners kick on after last season’s quest for glory faded away in the final weeks of the season.

“All the players who came in this season have been brilliant and just you see them getting better and better,” said the Norway international following Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Brighton.

“They give us so much.”

Andre Onana hopes Manchester United can still finish in the top four despite dropping more points in their dramatic 1-1 draw at Brentford.

Substitute Mason Mount fired the visitors ahead against the run of play with his first United goal six minutes into stoppage time.

But three minutes later Kristoffer Ajer converted Ivan Toney’s cross to secure a fully-deserved point for the Bees.

United are now 11 points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, albeit with a game in hand, and eight behind Tottenham in fifth as their Champions League hopes faded again.

“I feel sad because we are Manchester United, so it doesn’t matter who you play. Everywhere we go, we have to win,” goalkeeper Onana told MUTV.

“We gave away this game in the end. We did a fantastic job defending, it was not our best game but the most important thing was to win. So, yeah, it’s difficult.”

Onana made five saves as Brentford had 31 attempts on goal and hit the woodwork four times.

“The most important thing is the victory of the team,” added Onana.

“It’s good when you contribute and you have a victory. Of course, we didn’t lose this game but the way we conceded that goal is bad for all of us because we are in this together. We blocked shots and made saves together.

“As a leader and experienced player, we have to take responsibility and always stay positive because it’s the biggest club in the country.

“We have to continue working hard and be humble. I know we will stick together because we did it in the last month. I hope we end in the top four.”

Brentford have endured a difficult season – they are riddled with injuries and were missing their entire first-choice back four against United.

But Thomas Frank’s side are five points above the relegation zone and, if they continue to play like this, will have nothing to worry about.

“I know we’ve lost too many games but the performances have been better than the points we have got, there’s no doubt about that,” said Frank.

“There are reasons, there are mistakes and there are margins. That’s football, unfortunately, sometimes.

“But it’s been coming and there’s been a lot of good performances and with all these setbacks and the struggles this team has been through, we just need to keep going.”

Pep Guardiola is the best manager of all time, according to former Manchester City goalkeeper David James.

Guardiola claimed a historic treble with City last season, taking his tally to 11 league titles and three Champions League trophies across his time at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and the Citizens over a glittering managerial career.

Guardiola has led City to the Premier League title in five of the last six campaigns, and his team is deeply entrenched in yet another battle at the top of the division this season, too, sitting third but just a point behind leaders Arsenal, who they face on Sunday in a huge clash.

Alex Ferguson leads the way with 13 Premier League titles over 21 editions of the competition, but James believes the rate at which Guardiola is catching up with the Scot means the former Barca boss must be considered the best manager of all time.

"Tactically, and with regards to what he's won, I'm struggling to think of a manager who's overall done better [than Guardiola]," James told Stats Perform. "Alex Ferguson you could think of, but Alex Ferguson had [a long time]. It's just ridiculous how good this guy is.

"I just think when you look at Pep, in a short period of time, he has effectively dominated anything he wants to go for. The Premier League, it is the best league in the world. His team has dominated.

"It wouldn't surprise me if they win the Champions League again. When you think the EFL Cup was his first [trophy], I think it was three years in a row, now it's the Premier League, and it's kind of like, well next is naturally the Champions League, isn't it?"

James believes it is Guardiola's ability to develop talented players into becoming world class that truly sets him apart from other managers and allows him to have so much success wherever he goes.

"For what anyone says about money being spent, I think other than Jack Grealish at one point, he's never bought the most expensive player," James added. "He gets the players and makes them better.

"You've got Phil Foden. The player I'm looking forward to over the rest of this season and next season is Oscar Bobb.

"There are players in the City side who are coming through or already there, and it's just a joy to watch."

For the majority of Guardiola's City career, Liverpool and their boss Jurgen Klopp have been his team's closest challengers.

That competition is soon to be coming to an end, however, with Klopp set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season after almost nine years in charge at Anfield.

James believes this will prove to be a huge loss for the Premier League, particularly when it comes to Klopp's personality, saying: "He has been so frank, so honest about anything that he's been asked.

"I just think it's so refreshing to have a manager who is managing one of the biggest clubs in the world in the most pressurised environments in sport, if you like, and he takes to it like it's a chit-chat around a cup of coffee over a table.

"While we've got him I think we have to enjoy him, and hope that at some point he comes back to the Premier League in some shape or form and just illuminates football for anyone who's following him."

Yet, James feels the nature of football means that if Liverpool's next manager succeeds on the pitch in a superior fashion to Klopp, the former Borussia Dortmund boss will become just another one of the top managers Liverpool have had.

"Will there be a gap? Yeah," James continued. "And the character will be difficult, if not near impossible to replace.

"However, the game will move on. And if the new manager of Liverpool hardly ever talks to anyone but gets results in Liverpool surpassing Jurgen's success on the trophy trail, then in the end Jurgen will just be one of the great managers that Liverpool had and it will all be about the new guy. We know how this game works."

A civil claim involving Liverpool fans who suffered injury and distress at the 2022 Champions League final in Paris has been settled.

UEFA issued a statement on Friday evening confirming that a “full and final settlement” had been agreed with fans represented by Pogust Goodhead and Bingham Long who had made personal injury claims.

The terms of the settlement will remain confidential, UEFA said.

An independent report published last year found UEFA bore “primary responsibility” for the failures which almost led to European club football’s biggest occasion becoming a “mass fatality catastrophe”.

Serious congestion problems outside the Stade de France in Paris saw thousands of Liverpool fans penned in against perimeter fences and stuck in a motorway underpass ahead of the game against Real Madrid, with kick-off on the night delayed by more than 30 minutes.

Those same supporters, who had already been targeted by local youths trying to steal tickets, were then tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed by police.

“UEFA has already taken a number of steps following the 2022 final, including implementing recommendations from the independent review and establishing a special refund scheme,” UEFA’s statement on Friday said.

“Today, it has gone further by ensuring that Liverpool fans represented by Pogust Goodhead and Bingham Long receive a sum by way of compensation in relation to the difficulties and challenges that they were confronted with.

“The parties have agreed the terms of this statement but that the terms of the settlement will otherwise remain confidential. The settlement agreement has been made without any admission of liability. UEFA is pleased to have reached a common position which it is hoped provides closure for the fans. UEFA will be making no further comment.”

A Liverpool fan who was part of the Pogust Goodhead and Binghams claim, Matt Douglas, said in an article previously published by the firms: “We left for the game with plenty of time ahead of us. We went to enter the ground at around 3:30pm and noticed most of the gates were closed.

“When fans shouted and tried to communicate with stewards, we were mostly ignored. People kept being let into the gate, and it became worrying… a large volume of people with nowhere to go. Things were getting tense, there were kids around us crying, and I was seriously worried for my safety.

“I was next to a waist-high security divide which was about to fall over with the waves of pressure, and eventually I had to climb it rather than fall over it, but I still got injured… I broke my rib and have since been signed off work with it.

“Once we entered the ground, it got no better, we were hit with the aftermath of tear gas, and our eyes were stinging.

“I have suffered what can only be described as PTSD for weeks, I have avoided crowds, and I don’t think I’m ready to attend a football match. I certainly will never go to Paris again.

“UEFA owed a duty of care to the fans, and they failed in that duty.”

The independent panel also said it was “troubled” by the authorities’ attempts to blame Liverpool fans without tickets for the chaos “without any evidential basis”.

“Assertions that late, ticketless supporters were either the primary cause or contributed to the dangerous events have a particular resonance with Hillsborough, where similar allegations were made… and persisted for decades before being comprehensively disproved,” the report said.

Michael Burke and Paul Hudson, members of the claimants’ legal team at Pogust Goodhead, said: “We are delighted that fellow supporters of Liverpool Football Club will soon be in receipt of compensation for the difficulties and challenges they faced at the 2022 Champions League Final. This was an exceptionally important case and to have played a part in it was a privilege.”

Gerard Long, managing director of Bingham Long, added: “As a local firm, it was important for us to be able to report back to (fans) that we had resolved the matter without lengthy legal proceedings, and they will receive some compensation.

“I would like to make clear that no deduction will be taken from my clients’ damages and that they will therefore receive 100 per cent of the compensation received as part of this settlement.”

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