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HomeSportsReal Madrid wanted to avoid playing ‘world’s best team’, reveals star player

Real Madrid wanted to avoid playing ‘world’s best team’, reveals star player

Real Madrid forward Rodrygo believes Manchester City are the world’s best team and says the holders are the side they least wanted to face in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The last-eight tie marks the third successive season in which both sides have met in the tournament’s knockout stages.

Reigning champions City got the better of their Spanish opponents in last year’s semi-final, avenging their dramatic defeat in the 2022 semi-finals.

And while Rodrygo is relishing the prospect of enacting Real’s own revenge this time around, the Brazilian admits he and his teammates would have preferred to have waited until the final before taking on Pep Guardiola’s side.

‘This was an opponent that, to be honest, we didn’t want to face. And they think the same as well: they didn’t want to play against us,’ he said.

‘It’s a game that everyone expects to be the final, but it’s going to be now. Man City are very good, but our team is also very strong. It’s going to be good to meet them again.

Manchester City swept aside Real Madrid in last year’s semi-finals

‘They’re the Champions League winners, they’re the world champions, today they’re the best team in the world, so we have total respect for them.

‘They [City] have no bad or medium players. There’s no player you can think of like: “This one I’m going to press because he isn’t good and he will give us a goal or a great chance.”

‘They have a very good control of the game and of the ball. It’s a very beautiful game, a very difficult team. It’s very annoying to play against them but I believe in our team.’

Madrid have their eyes on a record-extending 15th Champions League title but head coach Carlo Ancelotti warned that his players will have to be far more courageous than in last year’s semi-finals which they lost 5-1 on aggregate.

‘We played without courage, without personality – courage and personality are fundamental in this type of game, we lacked them in the second leg,’ he said in his pre-match press conference.

‘In terms of courage and personality, we’ve had time to prepare for the game, we’ve prepared very well, and I am confident that we will give our best and we’ve got the quality to compete.’

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