Real Madrid welcome Manchester City in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 opener at the Santiago Bernabeu (22:00 SA time) – all you need to know.
What the coaches say
Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach (pictured above): “Just because we’ve had a couple of poor results, it doesn’t mean we’re doing that badly. This game is Madrid v City, it’s not Guardiola v Zidane; it’s a football match – that’s what people want to see. We’re happy because these are the games we want to play in, and we’re ready to do a great job. Loads of teams like to have the ball [like City do]. They are a team full of strengths and we have to counteract what they do well. We won’t change, we’re going to focus on what we’re interested in doing.”
Pep Guardiola, Man. City manager (pictured above): “We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan, plus try to be a little lucky.”
Graham Hunter, Real Madrid reporter: Zinédine Zidane has spent most of this season either with Eden Hazard absent or seeking form. Still, it is a blow that his weekend injury keeps the Belgian international out against City. Karim Benzema’s flow of goals has been truncated in 2020 and Los Blancos need to score and win in order to take an advantage to Manchester. Zidane’s dilemma? Gareth Bale, Benzema and Vinícius Júnior up front, or a packed midfield where, he hopes, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Federico Valverde and Luka Modrić dictate the match?
Simon Hart, Man. City reporter: If City have fallen below their now sky-high standards at times this season, the brilliant form of the world-class Kevin De Bruyne and return from injury of Aymeric Laporte are two big reasons for optimism, with Guardiola’s side arriving in Madrid boosted by back-to-back clean sheets for only the second time since September – not unimportant for a team whose failure to keep goals out has cost them dear in the knockout stages before. At the other end, Raheem Sterling’s availability after missing the last two matches is another boost for City, who failed to score when Madrid beat them in the 2016 semi-finals.
Real Madrid: Courtois: Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modrić, Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Vinícius Júnior, Benzema
Out: Asensio (match fitness), Hazard (ankle)
City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Bernardo, Agüero, Sterling
Out: Sané (match fitness)
Misses next game if booked: Mendy