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Manchester City v Madrid: reaction and analysis

Real Madrid are in their 27th European Cup semi-final and Manchester City their first, but Zinédine Zidane and Manuel Pellegrini both think the tie is too close to call.

Highlights: See what happened when Real Madrid and City met in 2012

Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach

It's a semi final so it's going to be a very very difficult game. The only thing that's positive is that we are playing the second leg at home; that's positive but it's going to be a very difficult tie, a brutal tie.

Real Madrid are always the favourites, it's always been that way and always will be. It doesn't bother us. We know how difficult it is to play a quarter-final and we know it's even harder to play a semi-final. As always we'll do our best to get through.

I don't agree that Madrid always get easy draws; we saw that in a so-called easy game [with Wolfsburg] we lost 2-0 and it was a difficult game. We have to play against everyone to reach the final; Roma, City and Wolfsburg are very good teams.

Manuel Pellegrini, City manager
It is a difficult draw. It didn't matter which team we were paired with, I didn't have a preference. There is no greater motivation. The motivation to play the semi-final is always unbelievable.

The fans will enjoy the Champions League more the further we go. It involves all the best teams in the world.

Winning the Champions League is always important but at Real Madrid you must win a trophy. They are playing in the semi-final and they still have a chance in the league.

Txiki Begiristain (left) and Emilio Butragueño at the draw
Txiki Begiristain (left) and Emilio Butragueño at the draw©Getty Images for UEFA

Emilio Butragueño, Madrid director of institutional relations
Difficult. It's always the same at this stage; all teams are very strong. They have players who are able to win a game on their own. We are very pleased to be here in the semi-final, as our quarter-final tie was really difficult – now we have to play at our highest level otherwise we'll be in trouble.

It's going to be a very thrilling tie, two entertaining games. Manchester City play attacking football, so do we, so it will be very exciting for fans.

Txiki Begiristain, City director of football
We know how many times Real Madrid have won the Champions League and been in numerous semi-finals so it is going to be very difficult. We saw how they came back against Wolfsburg, recovering from 2-0 down to win the second leg 3-0. Probably the worst thing for us is playing the second leg at the Bernabéu, a huge stadium with a lot of history in this competition.

We've done good things in the previous rounds, particularly in the round of 16 and quarter-final where we have been solid and defended well. We know with the players we have in the final third that we can create a lot of chances. We're confident and we will aim to make it very difficult for Real Madrid over the two legs; we want to get to the final in Milan and we know we can do that.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 'perfect night'

UEFA.com expert view
Joe Walker, Real Madrid reporter (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Zinédine Zidane is looking to lead Madrid to an unprecedented 11th European Cup and the Merengues, in their sixth straight semi-final, will be content to face last-four newcomers Manchester City. The sides met as recently as 2012/13 when Madrid won a thrilling encounter at the Bernabéu courtesy of a late strike from this season's top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, before a draw in Manchester. However, former Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini would love to eliminate his old club to secure a swansong in Milan.

Simon Hart, Manchester City reporter (@UEFAcomSimonH)
This is City's first European semi-final since 1971 and they will start as underdogs. Yet they showed impressive knowhow when defeating Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night and when their players raise their game, they have a chance against any team. Manuel Pellegrini's history as an ex-Madrid coach adds another layer of intrigue – how he would enjoy getting the better of his old club in his final month as City boss.

Highlights: Real Madrid's quarter-final win

Facts about the tie
• Real Madrid scored two late goals to beat Manchester City on matchday one in 2012/13, Karim Benzema (87) and Cristiano Ronaldo (90) earning a 3-2 victory. Marcelo (76) scored the home side's first goal; Aleksandar Kolarov (85) got City's second.

• The game in Manchester finished 1-1, Sergio Agüero's 73rd-minute penalty cancelling out Benzema's tenth-minute opener.

• Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last eight games against English clubs, and have won their last three such matches. Their record at home to English clubs is W7 D5 L2; overall it is P32 W13 D9 L10 F47 A38.

• City have already beaten Spanish opposition this season, defeating Sevilla 2-1 (home) and 3-1 (away) in the group stage.

• That win in Seville was City's second in Spain, where their record is W2 D1 L6. Overall against Liga sides it is P15 W5 D3 L7 F25 A24.

Highlights: Watch City reach last four

• This is Madrid's 27th European Cup semi-final (W13 L13) and City's first.

• City manager Pellegrini was in charge of Madrid in 2009/10, being replaced by José Mourinho.

• Ronaldo played for City's local rivals Manchester United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 84 goals in 196 Premier League games. He won league titles in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and scored in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final, when Sir Alex Ferguson's side beat Chelsea on penalties in Moscow. Ronaldo was also in the side beaten by Barcelona 12 months later.

• Ronaldo's record against City with United was W7 D1 L3. He scored four goals – all in United wins, including the only one in a 1-0 success at the City of Manchester Stadium in May 2007, but was sent off twice in away games: City's 4-1 win in March 2004 and a 1-0 United success in November 2008.

• Sergio Agüero failed to beat Real Madrid in five years at Atlético Madrid between 2006 and 2011, when he departed for City. His record was D3 L8, scoring three goals – all in Atlético defeats.