Media Watch

Xavi: 'Sterling can replace Messi as world’s best'

STERLING EFFORT: Raheem Sterling has been tipped once again to achieve great things
The Champions League is back.

Pep Guardiola’s City kick-off our 2019/20 European campaign with a trip to Shakhtar Donetsk tonight and unsurprisingly, the Group C opener dominates the headlines.

READ: Team news | Stones suffers injury setback

WATCH: Guardiola | 'It's always tough against Shakhtar'

GALLERY: Shaping up for Shakhtar

In particular, the press have been examining how the Premier League Champions will line-up, following the news John Stones has been ruled out for up to five weeks with a muscular problem.

Meanwhile, there’s high praise for Raheem Sterling, as Xavi believes the England forward can replace Leo Messi as the world’s best player…

View from the opposition

Shakhtar Donetsk: 'Decisions have been made'

Manager Luis Castro (on Pep Guardiola) :”I know what the whole world knows: he is one of the best coaches in the world working at one of the best clubs in the world, in the best league on the planet. His level? It's no secret to anyone - the highest a coach can have."

(On Oleks Zinchenko): “He’s a player who performs very important functions for the team. Zinchenko is a fullback with very specific attributes. He is not responsible for the flank that often, getting more inside, also being one of those who helps to change the attacking flank.

“There’s Sterling before him, who links up when necessary, as well as David Silva and De Bruyne. He’s a very interesting football player and, of course, one of the top players in the world in his role. He has some great interplay with Sterling.”

WATCH: Guardiola: It’s always tough against Shakhtar

Shakhtar Donetsk: ‘We play to win’

Goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov: “I am not a forecaster, but I know that Shakhtar always play to win.

“Therefore, of course, we will try to achieve the maximum result. But we understand who we play. We will see everything: who psyched up in what way and what result we deserve.

“I hope that everything will be just and right, and may the stronger side win.”


Daily Express: Man City team news: Predicted 4-3-3 line up vs Shakhtar Donetsk – Rotation from Guardiola

Ben Pringle: “Pep Guardiola has travelled with a strong squad to Ukraine and will be wary of a Shakhtar side who have begun their domestic campaign with seven straight victories.

“Kevin de Bruyne is almost certain to earn a recall in midfield after starting on the bench against Norwich, with Ilkay Gundogan likely to make way.

“Summer signing Joao Cancelo could make his first start since arriving from Juventus if Kyle Walker is rested at right-back.

“Meanwhile, John Stones has been ruled out with a muscle injury and is expected to be sidelined for up to five weeks so Fernandinho will line up alongside Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back.

WATCH: Tuesday tune-up: City prepare for Shakhtar test

Benjamin Mendy is closing in on a return to full match fitness and is contention to start at left-back, although Oleksandr Zinchenko remains favourite to get the nod.

Rodri should continue in front of the back four but Bernardo Silva could drop deeper and complete the midfield if Riyad Mahrez comes in for David Silva.

“Raheem Sterling is expected to start on the left while Sergio Aguero should lead the line, although Gabriel Jesus is pushing for a start.”


The Mirror: Xavi believes Raheem Sterling on course to replace Lionel Messi as the world's best player

Xavi: “Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the best player in the world awards for so many years now, it’s hard to remember a time before them

“Messi is the best ever for me - and even though they’re both still playing at a very high level - there will come the day not so long away when somebody else must step into those shoes.

“You look at young players who can be crowned the future best in the world and you still think of Neymar, Mbappe, Salah, and of course Sterling. I look at the moment - and Sterling is winning that race.

“He’s always been a good player, a dangerous player, but under Pep he become one of the best in the world.

WATCH: Walker and Sterling: Who's Most Likely?

“I know how Pep works - he would have worked closely with him since his arrival - where he needs to improve and what he needed to work on.

“We’re now seeing the results of that - he’s still young and can be the world’s best.

“With Barcelona, I look at Manchester City and Liverpool as being the favourites for the Champions League this season.”

Loan news

Daily Record: Daniel Arzani makes Celtic return from injury hell as Hibs earn point against reserves

Chris Doyle: “Daniel Arzani has made his long-awaited return from injury as Celtic reserves drew 1-1 with Hibs.

“The winger, on loan from Manchester City until the end of this season, has been on the sidelines for the past 10 months after suffering a horrific ACL injury on his debut against Dundee last season.

“The Aussie came off the bench against the Edinburgh side for the final half hour as he replaced Liam Burt. Arzani had a few long-range efforts, but was unable to mark his comeback with a goal.”

GET TICKETS: Watch Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League

View all club partners