Pep Guardiola has made four changes for tonight’s Champions League quarter-final first leg with Real Madrid.

Manuel Akanji, Phil Foden, Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva all come into the starting line-up from the team that beat Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Defender Josko Gvardiol is also fit to start after being taken off at half-time in the win over the Eagles while Stefan Ortega Moreno retains his place in goal.

Kevin De Bruyne, Rico Lewis, Oscar Bobb and Julian Alvarez all move to the bench.



REAL MADRID XI: Lunin; Carvajal, Tchouameni, Rudiger, Mendy; Camavinga, Valverde, Kroos; Rodrygo, Bellingham, Vinicius Jr

Subs: Kepa, Fran, Militao, Nacho, Modric, Joselu, Lucas V, Ceballos, Fran Garcia, Brahim, Guler

CITY XI: Ortega Moreno, Akanji, Stones, Dias (C), Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Kovacic, Bernardo, Foden, Grealish, Haaland

Subs: Ederson, Carson, De Bruyne, Doku, Alvarez, Gomez, Nunes, Bobb, Susoho, Lewis


The availability of Gvardiol is a boost for City with the Croatian the only natural left-footed defender in the squad.

He’s likely to start next to Ruben Dias and John Stones in the centre of defence with Manuel Akanji on the right hand side.

Former Madrid star Kovacic comes into midfield who can dovetail with Rodrigo.

Either Foden or Bernardo will be ahead of them or on the right wing with Erling Haaland through the middle and Jack Grealish expected to start on the left.


Before the game both Rodrigo and Guardiola were asked about the threat coming from England international Jude Bellingham.

The former Birmingham star has been an instant hit at the Santiago Bernabeu, scoring 20 goals for the Spanish giants with a further 10 assists.

Guardiola praised the intelligence of the midfielder when we faced him with previous club Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

“He has had an incredible season and he has clicked quick,” the boss said. “Not just for Madrid, for the national team too he has been brilliant.”

It will may well fall on our Spanish superstar to keep him quiet and continue his own personal unbeaten run.

Bellingham is one of four Madrid players treading a tightrope for the second leg.

A yellow card would see him suspended for next week’s game at the Etihad along with Vinicius Junior, Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni and City’s Ruben Dias.


● Real Madrid and City will face in the Champions League knockout stages for a third successive season, after meeting in the semi-finals in 2021/22 and 2022/23. There were 17 goals scored across those previous four meetings, at an average of 4.3 per game (seven for Real Madrid, 10 for Man City).

● Real Madrid have only won one of their last six Champions League matches against City (D1 L4), while they have conceded an average of 1.7 goals per game in the competition against us (17 goals conceded in 10 games), their most against a side they have faced 5+ times.

● City have only lost one of our last 12 games against Spanish clubs in all European competitions (W8 D3), although that was a 3-1 defeat away to Real Madrid in the 2021/22 Champions League semi-final.

● This match will see the two managers with the most wins in Champions League history going head-to-head, in the form of Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti (113) and City’s Pep Guardiola (109). In the three seasons they’ve faced each other in the knockout stages of the competition, Ancelotti’s sides have progressed on two of those occasions (2013/14 and 2021/22), but were eliminated in the semi-finals last season.

● After losing his first two meetings with Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti (in the 2013/14 semi-finals of this competition, while in charge of Bayern Munich), Pep Guardiola has only lost one of his last eight games against Ancelotti across all competitions (W6 D1) – all of which have been in charge of City. 

● Real Madrid have only been behind on the scoreboard for 26 minutes in the Champions League this season – the fewest of any side. City, meanwhile, are the team that have been ahead for the most minutes in the competition this term (428 minutes).

Rodrigo (137) and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos (128) are the two players who have made the most line-breaking passes in the Champions League this season, while Kroos is also the midfielder with the best pass completion rate under pressure in the competition this term (95% - 352/371).

● Since the start of the 2021/22 campaign, Real Madrid’s Vinícius Junior has been directly involved in more goals than any other player in the Champions League (27 – 14 goals, 13 assists). In the same period, he also leads all players in the competition for completed dribbles (97) and progressive carries (373).

● Real Madrid are one of only two sides – along with City – that Erling Haaland has played against more than once without scoring in the Champions League (two games against each). His seven total shots and five shots on target against Real Madrid are both his most without scoring against an opponent in the competition.

● Jude Bellingham has either scored (4) or assisted (4) in all six of his Champions League games for Real Madrid. The only player to do so in his first seven games for a club in the competition is Sebastien Haller, while playing for Ajax in 2021/22 (11 goals, two assists).