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FootballReal Madrid v Man City: Rudiger excited to face Haaland in Champions...

Real Madrid v Man City: Rudiger excited to face Haaland in Champions League quarter-final

Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger has spoken of his anticipation for taking on Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland when the Liga leaders host Manchester City in the first leg of the Uefa Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Haaland’s six goals make him the leading marksman in this season’s competition alongside Bayern Munich’s Harry Kane, Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann and Paris St-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, having made one less appearance than his fellow top-scorers.

“I’m really looking forward to the duel with him,” said Rudiger. “He’s obviously a great forward. You dream about these games.

“It’s amazing to be a part of this. Against Erling Haaland or whoever… they have a lot of great players, not just Haaland.”

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Rudiger was part of the Chelsea side who beat City in the 2021 Champions League final, more than a year before Haaland joined the Cityzens from Borussia Dortmund.

The 31-year-old does not see parallels between his former team and the most successful competitors in the history of the Champions League.

“With all due respect to every other club I’ve played for – and they were also big clubs – I don’t think you can compare them to Real Madrid,” he said, having also represented Roma and Stuttgart.

“They’ve won 14 [titles]. It’s always about winning the Champions League here – you don’t have to say it. You feel the pressure, of course. I experienced it for the first time last year.”

Madrid v City ‘all about winning’

Madrid drew 1-1 at home to City in the first leg of the semi-final between the teams last season but their title defence came to a forgettable end when they lost the return match 4-0.

“You have to be ready to go right to the end,” said Rudiger. “It’s all about winning here. Draws or defeats are simply not an option.

“Self-confidence is important; how you feel at any given moment. You have to provide the team with confidence as a defensive leader.

“For me, those are the most important things: making noise and reassuring the team.”

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