Can Real Madrid stop ‘best in Europe’ Manchester City as the teams meet in the Champions League?: Real Madrid and Manchester City face each other in a highly-anticipated Champions League semifinal on Tuesday, pitting the defending champion against a team on a sensational run of form.
It is a rematch of last year’s semifinal in which Madrid overturned a first-leg defeat and late second-leg deficit before triumphing against Liverpool in the final.
However, City will likely be a tougher opponent this time around – a team which is unbeaten in all competitions since February having recently leapfrogged Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.
Erling Haaland has broken record after record since arriving at the club last year and has scored 12 Champions League goals this season – four more than anyone else in the competition.
The Norwegian, who has 51 goals to his name this season, has been central to City’s push to become the second English team after Manchester United in 1999 to win a domestic treble: the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup all in the same season.
“I am a fan of Real Madrid usually. It will be a difficult game against City because City is, at the moment, the best team in Europe,” former Madrid manager Fabio Capello told Sport on Monday.
“I hope [current manager] Carlo Ancelotti will find something different.”
Ancelotti has no shortage of attacking talent at his disposal with Vinícius Jr, Karim Benzema and Rodrygo – who scored twice as Madrid won the Copa del Rey on Saturday and scored two late goals in the second leg of last year’s tie against City – providing the most goals for the club in the Champions League this season.
Despite trailing rival Barcelona by 14 points in La Liga, Los Blancos have proven that they can raise their level when required in Europe with comfortable knockout victories against Liverpool and Chelsea.
Ancelotti admitted on Monday that City is a “more complete team” compared to last year, particularly with Haaland on the pitch.
“We’re not setting out just to stop Haaland, but to stop a team that seems unstoppable,” Ancelotti told reporters. “I think we have a chance to have an even, competitive game and that we can win.”
Madrid has the home advantage for Tuesday’s game, which kicks off at 3 p.m. ET at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. The return leg at the Etihad Stadium takes place on May 17.