Rodrigo says that City will step out for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg at Real Madrid in 'our best moment' and armed with the 'weapons' to challenge the holders.

Pep Guardiola’s side will lock horns once more with the reigning European champions in an eagerly-awaited rematch of last season’s semi-final.

Twelve months ago, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s side who prevailed, with Real edging out a titanic tussle 6-5 on aggregate after extra time in the deciding leg,

One year on, City have been presented with the opportunity to even the score – and we flew out to Madrid on Monday on the back of a 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions, and 10 straight wins in the Premier League.

Leading the way in the Premier League and through to an-all Manchester FA Cup final, City are still in with a shout of an incredible treble.


And, for his part, Spanish international Rodrigo says the side couldn’t be in better shape for a game that has captured the imagination of football fans around the globe.

“We respect a lot Real Madrid - they are the king of the competition - but we have weapons and they know that,” Rodrigo declared.

“I have the philosophy and so do my teammates, that you can learn from past experience.

“We did a great two games last year but we did not go through.

“But we are here again to fight - with motivation.

“We have been very, very good this year and we arrive here in the best moment.

“To be honest the whole year we have been very, very good. Maybe the results weren’t (earlier) but now we are in a moment where we identify exactly what we have to do.

“We are clever, score when we need to score, and we know big teams like us need to identify the moments we push a bit more.

“This is why we have won 10 games in a row in the Premier League. We have to step forward now - individually and collectively - and that is something we have understood since February, March until now.


“We are in a good moment. We respect them - and nothing will be decided tomorrow; we have weapons and we trust 100% we are able to qualify [for the final].”

Twelve months ago, City were three minutes away from securing a semi-final win only for Madrid to score twice at the death to force the second leg into extra time where a Karim Benzema penalty secured a dramatic turnaround.

Rodrigo says City will heed the lessons of what happened last May – and are aware of the capacity of Madrid’s attacking threat.

However, he also believes the experience of playing in the Premier League and fighting for a third straight domestic title will also stand us in good stead come Tuesday night.

“Football is like this sometimes. We did 180 minutes brilliantly but it’s not enough. Sometimes you lose the leg in five minutes,” Rodrigo added.

“The last minutes in that leg we didn’t handle it in the right way. We learn from that. Football is like this. I don’t like to talk much about the past.

“We changed a lot of things. And the way we are coming now is another year., another goal.

“If you talk about our league, the level is so high, but the opposition can score one goal. The same happened with Real Madrid.

“It is something we are trying to focus on - give nothing to the opponents, be solid, and hurt them when we can. Be efficient and score goals.

“The level is high at the moment but still we are not champions of anything. We need to keep the same mentality in every game.”


We will have full coverage of Tuesday’s match right here on the official Man City app.

Our Matchday Centre will be available from 18:00 (UK), providing you with live text updates before, during and after the game.

Our Matchday Live programme will begin shortly before team news arrives at 18:45 (UK).

Host Natalie Pike will welcome Paul Dickov, Shaun Goater and Steph Houghton into the studio to provide you with a City-centric view on the events in Spain.

During the game, Alistair Mann and Michael Brown will guide you through proceedings with our radio commentary.

Highlights will be available at 23:00 (UK) on Wednesday and CITY+ subscribers can watch a full 90-minute replay from midnight.

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