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FootballManchester City: Rodri expects to face 'different' Real Madrid in Champions League

Manchester City: Rodri expects to face ‘different’ Real Madrid in Champions League

Rodri says Manchester City cannot afford to reflect too much on last year’s Champions League thrashing of Real Madrid as they prepare to renew hostilities with a “different” iteration of Los Blancos on Tuesday.

City beat Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals last year en route to capturing their first European crown, routing Carlo Ancelotti’s team 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of that tie.

One year earlier, it was Madrid who came out on top in a semi-final classic between the teams, with Rodrygo scoring two late goals to force extra time in a dramatic second leg, which the Spanish giants won courtesy of Karim Benzema’s penalty.

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While the teams have become familiar foes in recent years, Rodri says there can be no complacency on City’s part and insists Madrid will never be underdogs in Europe.

“Of course we have the experience of last year but we don’t focus much on that. We know we are going to face a different Real Madrid,” he said at Monday’s pre-match press conference at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“Every season is different. We come here in one of the best shapes ourselves of this season. We already know each other so well from the past years. It’s going to be such a tough game tomorrow.

“I said we’ll face a different Madrid because they play different. They control more games and have more midfielders and of course we expect it to be tough. We have to adapt ourselves.

“They are always favourites in this competition, more here at home. We know them well and know how we have to fight against them.”

While Rodri believes Madrid have improved since last season, he feels the same is true of City, saying: “We are a more mature team.

“We have experience of winning this competition now. We come here with a different mentality and composure. I hope the experience of winning the tournament helps us do things right tomorrow.”

The most obvious difference to Madrid’s team is the presence of Jude Bellingham, who has 20 goals and 10 assists since joining from Borussia Dortmund last year.

“We already know Jude from the times we have met Borussia Dortmund,” Rodri said of the England star. “We already know the type of player he is.

“He is so powerful, with strength and that ability to arrive in the second line. We already know him. I don’t like to focus on one player. They have enormous potential across the pitch.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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