Rodrigo says facing Real Madrid as Champions League winners will not affect the outcome of the latest encounter between the two teams.

City’s midfield colossus believes our success in the competition has certainly been a positive experience for the team and part of a long learning curve.

But he also says the two teams are different from last season’s semi-final meeting, which City won 5-1 over two legs to reach the final against Inter.


“Of course we have the experience of last year, but we don’t think much of that,” said Rodrigo.

“We will face a different Real Madrid, they play differently, and every season is different. 

“We come here with one of the best versions of ourselves this season. I think we will always face the favourites of this competition [at some stage]. 

“We know each other quite well in the last few years. We expect such a tough game tomorrow.”

Asked if Real Madrid’s nine-day rest ahead of Tuesday’s first leg could make a difference, Rodrigo added: “I will tell you tomorrow. We are involved in the Premier League title fight, and this makes you play every three days and not rest. 

“Yes they could rest a little bit more and maybe they have a little advantage in this sense, but we are not worried. 

“We have been playing with the same rhythm in recent years. We would like to rest like them, but it isn’t something that worries us.”

Inevitably, the Blues’ midfielder was asked for his thoughts on Real’s England star Jude Bellingham.

But Rodrigo says while the former Borussia Dortmund player has been a great success, he will not be the sole focus of City’s attentions tomorrow evening.

“I said we face a different Real Madrid because I think they play differently,” he said.

“They don’t play the same way. They control and have a different way of playing. We respect Real. 

“We know whatever happens it will never be finished. Even if things go good or bad tomorrow, we have the second leg. 

“We know Jude because we have faced Dortmund - he is so powerful and strong, has the ability to arrive at the second line and control the game. 

“But I don’t like focusing on one player - they have enormous potential in all the lines, and we have to adapt to that.” 

City drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu last season, a year on from the heart-breaking semi-final loss at the same venue when the Blues saw a 1-0 lead slip in the dying minutes before eventually being defeated in extra time and eliminated from the competition.

Rodrigo was asked how much the team had learned from that painful experience two years ago and if they used that pain to great effect last season.

“We prove ourselves every time we play against them,” he said.

“This is the fourth time against them and in all of them we had great results. The one you mentioned when we didn’t go through it was 10, 25 minutes and it can happen in football.

“We didn’t think much about that last year. But to be fair we are now a more mature team, and we have experience of winning this competition and we have a mentality. 

“We need a good result tomorrow. We hope the experience of winning this competition will give us the confidence tomorrow to do the right things.”