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FootballManchester City v Real Madrid - Guardiola doesn't fear Bellingham, Vinicius, Modric...

Manchester City v Real Madrid – Guardiola doesn’t fear Bellingham, Vinicius, Modric and Co

Pep Guardiola is adamant he is not yet thinking about Manchester City completing an historic ‘double treble’ as they prepare to face a Real Madrid side he respects but doesn’t fear.

City earned a hard-fought 3-3 draw at the Bernabeu last week, leaving their Champions League, quarter-final tie delicately poised ahead of the return at the Etihad tomorrow night.

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Guardiola’s men moved to the top of the Premier League at the weekend with a win over Luton Town coupled with defeats for fellow challengers Arsenal and Liverpool. They also face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

It means they remain in with a chance of repeating last season’s achievements but Guardiola is refusing to get carried away.

He said: “We are far away from those hypothetical dreams. When we are in the final of the FA Cup and two or three games [away] in the Premier League and in the final of the Champions League I will start to think about that.

“But you see how strong Chelsea are and what is a few points difference with six games to play in the Premier League? When I was a few points behind I said we had to do our job. It is the same feeling now.

“It’s like when we drew against Arsenal and the computer said we had no chance and now we have a chance – I don’t know if the computer can play left-back or right-back – but we just have to go one game at a time.

“I started to think of the treble last season only when we beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final. The success for me this season is that we are still there after winning the treble and are four or five weeks away and still in contention.”

Former Barcelona boss Guardiola has enjoyed a long-running rivalry with Madrid over many years and, while he says he has the utmost respect for Carlo Ancelotti’s men, he says he does not fear them.

“No I don’t fear them,” he added. “But I respect them a lot. I have faced them many times. I respect Real Madrid. But if I say I’m scared of them, that would be false.

“There’s the rivalry. You want to beat them, and do well, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I want us to do as well as we can and be ourselves. If we can’t be, it doesn’t matter. But I’m not scared of them and if they beat me – as has happened many times – we will say congratulations and wish them well.”

City will welcome Kyle Walker back into the squad tomorrow night with the right-back finally fit again after sustaining a hamstring injury on England duty.

Guardiola added: “I am going to see at training. He has had one or two training sessions. He feels good with his mood. I don’t know if from the beginning, or from the bench, but he will be with us tomorrow.

“It is incredibly good news for many reasons. Today at 4pm we train again so we will see. He is our captain and in last year’s matches played against players like Vinicius, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe and he knows how to defend them like nobody.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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