Pep Guardiola hails ’kings’ of Europe Real Madrid ahead of Champions League tie

Pep Guardiola has hailed Real Madrid as the ‘kings’ of the Champions League ahead of Manchester City's blockbuster clash with the Spaniards.

Los Blancos have won more European Cups than any other team with their 13 titles putting them head and shoulders above anyone else.

Premier League champions City have been drawn to play Zinedine Zidane’s men in the last-16 of this season’s competition, with the first leg at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

But they have not beaten the La Liga outfit in four previous attempts with their most high profile meeting in the semi-finals in 2016.

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Guardiola has plenty of experience of facing Real from his time as a player and manager at their bitter rivals Barcelona, and he knows the size of the task his City side face.

"I played many times against them as a player and a manager and I always had an incredible admiration for the history of this club," said Guardiola.

"I know how difficult it is against the quality of their players. I don't know how many finals they have played in or how many times they have lifted (the trophy).

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"For us, maybe Claudio (Bravo, with Barcelona) has won the Champions League but otherwise we don't have any players who have won this competition.

"But we have the desire to be ourselves. We can win, we can lose but we must try to be ourselves in these 180 minutes we have to face Real Madrid.

"For us there is an excitement. We try to do our best, knowing we play against the king of this competition."

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The tie has taken on added significance with City knowing it may be their last European outing for more than two years if they lose.

The club have been slapped with a two-year European ban and a hefty fine for breaching UEFA Financial Fair Play rules.

While they will appeal the ruling although is not clear what their chances of having it overturned are.

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