Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola admits Cristiano Ronaldo could end Manchester City’s Champions League hopes.
But he believes Ronaldo’s hat-trick in Juventus’ 3-0 triumph over Atletico Madrid – after losing the first leg 2-0 – was evidence of the Italian giants’ credentials as kings of Europe.
Real Madrid’s shock exit to Ajax last week has blown the competition wide open as Guardiola looks to add to his two triumphs with Barcelona at City.
But he is wary of the threat of a Ronaldo-inspired Juve.
“We (Barca) won two, but I lost seven,” he says. “So I am not Real Madrid. Madrid is out, but there’s still Juventus.
“These guys take Cristiano Ronaldo – they go there to win the Champions League with Juventus.
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 12, 2019
“He has all the pressure on his shoulders, he scores three versus Atletico Madrid and they go through. That is the type of guy you face to achieve the next stages.
“We are going to try. If it doesn’t work, I am sorry but I assure you next season we are going to try. This competition is tough.”
Furthermore, Guardiola plays down City’s chances of finally conquering Europe despite spending £500m since taking over at the Etihad two and a half years ago – describing his side as ‘teenagers’ in Champions League terms.
They were a class apart from Schalke after winning the first leg 3-2, with Sergio Aguero scoring twice at the Etihad and Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus completing the rout.
“When I said we are a teenage team, I didn’t say we are not going to fight,” he adds. “The best success in the club’s history is a semi-final – compared to Real Madrid with 13 wins or Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, they have how many, six, seven, eight?
“But the teenagers have patience, desire, they are not scary. We are trying to achieve for the second time in our history a semi-final of the Champions League.
“It is why when the people say you have to win, you have to win, when you are out in the quarter-finals it is a disaster, it is not fair.
“Today Real Madrid is out and Atletico is out and PSG is out and it is unfair, this competition, because it is incredibly tough.
“There are incredible teams, so when we are through the group stages, I am happy. It is so nice to be in the quarter-finals for the third time in our history.”