Guardiola: Facing the Kings of the Tournament has Become Traditional

Josep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City Football Club, is looking forward to another encounter with Real Madrid, after the draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League pitted his team against the Spanish giants for the third consecutive year.

The British news agency "PA Media" reported that Manchester City, the reigning champions of the league, will face Real Madrid, who hold the record for the most titles with 14, in the quarterfinals next month.

The two teams met in the semifinals in the past two years, with Real Madrid winning in 2022 and then Manchester City avenging that loss last year.

Guardiola said after the draw on Friday: "It seems that it has become more traditional, facing the Kings of the Tournament three times in a row. I hope we arrive at the match fully prepared, but there are still a few weeks before the first match in Madrid."

He added: "When people say the draw is easy, they underestimate the value of the other competitor, but there is no need to introduce Real Madrid in this tournament. When you play in the later stages, you face the best teams in Europe and surely Real Madrid is among them."

He continued: "But all opponents are difficult to beat, everyone knows that. We felt excited before the draw because participating here is a privilege every time. It's a special competition."

Manchester City's priority will be facing Newcastle on Saturday in the FA Cup quarterfinals.

This will be the fourth time the two teams have met this season, with Manchester City winning the league encounters before Newcastle won in the English Football League Cup.

Guardiola said: "This season, and the one before, and the one before that also - since Eddie Howe took charge of Newcastle, and people in Saudi Arabia took over the club's management, our match results with them have become very close."

He added: "I don't expect anything different, but we have an amazing opportunity at our ground and in front of our fans. From now on, until the end of the season, we want our fans' support in every match played at our ground, as happened in the match against Manchester United."

He continued: "I can't remember any atmosphere like that for a long time, and we need it for tomorrow."

Manchester City will be without the efforts of Kevin De Bruyne and Ederson Moraes, but Jack Grealish seeks to find his place in the team lineup after missing six out of the last seven matches the team played, with Guardiola saying, "He's improving, he's in the squad."

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