Guardiola’s interaction with the Spanish press often lacks a smile. Having been away from Spain for ten years, the Manchester City coach finds greater ease with local journalists, a trend that began during his tenure at Bayern Munich and has continued over the past seven years at City.
However, his demeanor this time around is noticeably different from a year ago, on the eve of the second leg clash at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. The tension had reached its peak back then, fueled by the controversy surrounding his encounter with Diego Simeone in the quarter-finals and his visit to Real Madrid’s stadium.
In contrast, this year, with the advantage of playing at home, Guardiola appears more relaxed. While the absence of smiles remains, the absence of controversy prevails, as his sole focus lies in finding ways to defeat his European nemesis.
What makes Real Madrid so dominant in the Champions League remains a mystery to Guardiola. He admits that if he knew the secret, he would try to replicate their approach. He attributes Madrid’s success to consistently having players of the highest caliber. He draws a parallel to Barcelona’s triumph when they had a squad filled with exceptionally talented individuals.
On the subject of Manchester City, Kyle Walker expresses gratitude towards the club’s owners. He believes the players have already achieved a lot, even if they may not realize it themselves. Walker advises the team not to burden themselves with excessive pressure and instead focus on playing the game. He acknowledges the formidable strength of Real Madrid and considers it a privilege to compete against them.
When asked about the favorites in the competition, Guardiola refrains from making a definitive statement. He states that every season, it is the team that deserves to win that ultimately emerges victorious. His primary objective is to perform well and convince the fans that they don’t need to alter their approach. Guardiola also highlights the perceived advantage of playing at home, where the team feels more liberated and relaxed. Drawing from personal experience, he reflects on having been in ten semi-finals, losing seven of them, and acknowledges the unpredictable nature of football, where many variables are beyond one’s control.
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