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Real Madrid Vs Manchester City: UCL Today At 9pm

Guardiola's men travel to Spain to face 13 times champions, hoping to get some advantage ahead of the return leg at Manchester.
Man City will prioritize winning this year UCL, after bn outclassed by Liverpool in the domestic league and also their newly installed UCL ban.

City were rocked by UEFA's announcement on February 14 that they have been expelled from European football competitions for the next two seasons for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations. The Citizens have pleaded their innocence and have vowed to take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
As things stand, though, the club will not have another chance to crack the Champions League until 2022-23, by which point a number of key players - and indeed boss Pep Guardiola - will likely have moved on.

That will no doubt provide some added motivation as City fly out to the Spanish capital for the opening 90 minutes of a tie which, as Madrid striker Karim Benzema put it, is expected to be very tight.

Guardiola's men have got their league campaign back on track with wins over West Ham United and Leicester City over the past week. All that has done, though, is ensure they will almost certainly not finish any higher or lower than second place.

The only way this campaign can now be considered a success is to go all the way on the continent, which they have been unable to come close to achieving in any of their eight previous seasons in the competition.
There is also the small matter of next weekend's EFL Cup final showdown with Aston Villa, of course, as well as an FA Cup last-16 tie with Sheffield Wednesday, but the Champions League now takes priority over all other competitions for Guardiola.

The English champions could have done with an easier first knockout-round fixture, then, with Madrid very much the "kings of the competition" in the words of Guardiola.

A 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo and last weekend's 1-0 loss at Levante has allowed Barcelona, themselves pretty mediocre for the majority of 2019-20, to take a two-point lead at the top.

Crashing out of the Champions League stage in the first knockout round for a second season running will be pretty disastrous for Madrid, even more so if their underwhelming form continues domestically.

However, Zidane has won all 12 Champions League ties he has been involved in as Madrid manager and currently holds three Champions League trophies as a head coach, a joint-record alongside Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti.

The Frenchman, who returned to the Santiago Bernabeu after Madrid's loss to Ajax last season, has become a specialist at winning European Cups.

Guardiola has now gone nine years since the second and most recent of his continental triumphs, meanwhile, and he recently admitted that he will be considered a failure if his time at the Etihad Stadium ends without him lifting the famous trophy.

That adds an extra edge to a tie that many will hope lives up to the hype. At the end of the second leg, it will either be Zidane or Guardiola left picking up the pieces of a season that has fallen apart.

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