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Real Madrid vs Man. City Champions League preview: where to watch, predicted line-ups, team news

Real Madrid welcome Manchester City in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 opener – all you need to know.

Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois and Vinícius Júnior have fun in training
Real Madrid's Thibaut Courtois and Vinícius Júnior have fun in training Getty Images

Real Madrid welcome City in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 on 26 February at 21:00 CET. This page will update with team news, quotes and expert analysis as kick-off approaches.


Where to watch the game on TV

Fans can find their local UEFA Champions League broadcast partner(s) here.

Since the group stage

Real Madrid

Five-goal Real Madrid-City thriller from 2012

Latest: Levante 1-0 Real Madrid (a), 22/02
Where they stand: 2nd in Liga

Manchester City
Latest: Leicester City 0-1 Manchester City, 22/02
Where they stand: 2nd in Premier League, FA Cup round of 16, League Cup final

Possible line-ups

Real Madrid: Courtois: Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modrić, Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos; Vinícius Júnior, Benzema
Out: Asensio (match fitness), Hazard (ankle)

City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva; Bernardo, Agüero, Sterling
Out: Sané (match fitness)
Misses next game if booked: Mendy

Expert predictions

Graham Hunter, Real Madrid reporter: Zinédine Zidane has spent most of this season either with Eden Hazard absent or seeking form. Still, it is a blow that his weekend injury keeps the Belgian international out against City. Karim Benzema’s flow of goals has been truncated in 2020 and Los Blancos need to score and win in order to take an advantage to Manchester. Zidane's dilemma? Gareth Bale, Benzema and Vinícius Júnior up front, or a packed midfield where, he hopes, Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Federico Valverde and Luka Modrić dictate the match?

Simon Hart, Man. City reporter: If City have fallen below their now sky-high standards at times this season, the brilliant form of the world-class Kevin De Bruyne and return from injury of Aymeric Laporte are two big reasons for optimism, with Guardiola’s side arriving in Madrid boosted by back-to-back clean sheets for only the second time since September – not unimportant for a team whose failure to keep goals out has cost them dear in the knockout stages before. At the other end, Raheem Sterling’s availability after missing the last two matches is another boost for City, who failed to score when Madrid beat them in the 2016 semi-finals.

What the coaches say

Matchday 4 highlights: Real Madrid 6-0 Galatasaray

Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach: "Just because we've had a couple of poor results, it doesn’t mean we’re doing that badly. This game is Madrid v City, it’s not Guardiola v Zidane; it’s a football match - that’s what people want to see. We’re happy because these are the games we want to play in, and we're ready to do a great job. Loads of teams like to have the ball [like City do]. They are a team full of strengths and we have to counteract what they do well. We won’t change, we’re going to focus on what we’re interested in doing."

Josep Guardiola, Man. City manager: "We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan, plus try to be a little lucky.”

Previous meetings

• There was only one goal in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League semi-final between the clubs. After the first game in Manchester ended scoreless, a 20th-minute own goal from City's Fernando at the Santiago Bernabéu proved enough to take Madrid into the final, where they beat neighbours Atlético on penalties.

• The sides' only other competitive fixtures came in the 2012/13 group stage, when Madrid twice came from behind to win 3-2 in Spain on Matchday 1. City led twice through Edin Džeko (68) and Aleksandar Kolarov (85) but Madrid responded through Marcelo (76) and Karim Benzema (87) before Cristiano Ronaldo snatched a 90th-minute victory.

• It was 1-1 in Manchester, Sergio Agüero's penalty cancelling out Benzema's tenth-minute strike. Madrid ended with ten men as Álvaro Arbeloa collected a second yellow card in fouling Agüero to concede that spot kick.

• Those four points helped José Mourinho's Madrid finish second in Group D, behind Borussia Dortmund; City, then managed by Roberto Mancini, ended bottom with three points having not won a game.

Form guide

Real Madrid
• Zinédine Zidane's side picked up 11 points in this season's group stage, finishing second in Group B behind Paris Saint-Germain, who beat the Spanish side 3-0 in France on Matchday 1. Club Brugge then established a surprise 2-0 lead at the Bernabéu in the second round of fixtures, but Madrid fought back for a 2-2 draw before beating Galatasaray away (1-0) and home (6-0). They conceded two late goals to draw 2-2 against Paris in their penultimate match, but rounded off their campaign with a 3-1 win at Club Brugge, who finished third, eight points behind Madrid.

2016 semi-final highlights: Real Madrid 1-0 Man. City

• Rodrygo's hat-trick against Galatasaray on Matchday 4 was the 12th scored by a Real Madrid player in the competition, one fewer than record holders Barcelona. At 18 years 301 days, he was the second youngest UEFA Champions League hat-trick scorer after former Madrid striker Raúl González, who was aged 18 years 113 days when he scored his only treble against Ferencváros in 1995/96.

• Madrid have won only three of their last nine European Bernabéu fixtures (D3 L3) – although they have been beaten in only four of their last 49 UEFA Champions League home matches (W37).

• Madrid have now finished second in their group three times in four seasons.

• Last season Madrid did win their section but a team then coached by Santiago Solari won 2-1 at Ajax in the round of 16 first leg only to bow out 5-3 on aggregate after a 4-1 home defeat.

• Last season was the first since 2009/10 in which Madrid failed to reach the semi-finals or better. Their round of 16 record is W9 L7; they lost at this stage for six years in succession between 2005 and 2010 but had won eight ties in a row before losing to Ajax.

• This is the 13-time champions' 50th European Cup campaign, more than any other side.

• Third in Spain in 2018/19, this is Madrid's 24th UEFA Champions League campaign – a joint record along with Barcelona. They have qualified for the knockout rounds in all of their 24 seasons, also a competition best.

• Madrid's record in two-legged knockout ties against English clubs is W8 L4; they have won their last three such contests, most recently that 2016 success against City.

• Madrid's last game against an English club was a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final in Kyiv, substitute Gareth Bale finding the net twice – including a stunning overhead effort – after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring.

• The Merengues' last home game against an English club was a 1-1 draw with Tottenham in the 2017/18 group stage. A 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture ended Madrid's 12-game unbeaten run against Premier League sides (W8 D4) and was their first loss to English opposition since a 4-0 reverse at Liverpool in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg – their record UEFA Champions League defeat.

• Madrid's home record against English clubs is W8 D6 L2.

Manchester City

Highlights: Dinamo Zagreb 1-4 Man. City

• City picked up 14 points in Group C to finish seven clear at the top, winning their first three games – at Shakhtar Donetsk (3-0) and at home to Dinamo Zagreb (2-0) and Atalanta (5-1) – before their four-game winning streak in the UEFA Champions League ended with a 1-1 draw in Italy. City were then also held 1-1 at home by Shakhtar on Matchday 5 but finished the section with a 4-1 success at Dinamo.

• City have scored 30 goals in their last ten UEFA Champions League matches; since losing at home to Lyon on Matchday 1 last season (1-2) their record is W11 D3 L1 with 45 goals scored and 14 conceded.

• This is the Citizens' ninth UEFA Champions League campaign and their seventh successive round of 16 appearance.

• In 2018/19, City brushed aside Schalke 10-2 on aggregate in the last 16, winning 3-2 in Germany and 7-0 at home – their record victory in UEFA club competition. That made City's last-16 aggregate record W3 L3, with wins in their last two ties.

• For the second year running City lost to English opposition in the quarter-finals in 2018/19, Tottenham eliminating them on away goals after a dramatic 4-4 aggregate draw (0-1 a, 4-3 h). Having also gone out to Liverpool in 2017/18 (0-3 a, 1-2 h), City have not lost a two-legged knockout tie to a non-English club since going out on away goals to Monaco in the 2016/17 round of 16 (5-3 h, 1-3 a).

• City's record against Spanish clubs in two-legged knockout ties is W1 L4, with defeats in each of the last four. They have twice lost to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League round of 16, in both 2013/14 (1-4 aggregate) and 2014/15 (1-3).

• The Manchester club have never won a knockout game away to a Spanish club in UEFA competition (D1 L4); home and away, a 3-0 home victory against Athletic Club in the 1969/70 European Cup Winners' Cup first round second leg is their only win (D3 L6).

• City's last trip to Spain brought a 4-0 loss at Barcelona in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage, their heaviest defeat in UEFA competition. They have won only twice in their ten visits to Spain (D1 L7).

• Josep Guardiola's side have won 12 of their last 21 European matches, home and away, losing six. Away from home it is six wins in ten matches (D2 L2), both defeats coming in England; the last game they lost abroad was at Shakhtar (1-2) on Matchday 6 of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.

• Champions of England for the second season running and sixth overall – four of those titles having come in the last eight years – City also lifted the FA Cup and League Cup in 2018/19, becoming the first English club to win all three domestic trophies in one season.

Links and trivia

Highlights: Club Brugge 1-3 Real Madrid

• Brahim Díaz made five appearances, all as a substitute, in City's victorious 2017/18 Premier League campaign. He joined the Manchester club in 2013 and also made three UEFA Champions League appearances in 2017/18 before signing for Madrid in January 2019.

• Between 2008 and 2012, Guardiola amassed 14 trophies as Barcelona coach, including the UEFA Champions League in 2009 and 2011 – beating Madrid in the semi-finals in the latter campaign – and three successive Liga titles (2009–11). Guardiola met Madrid 15 times as Barcelona coach (W9 D4 L2) and outscored the Merengues 33-15. In his playing days, Guardiola's Liga record against Madrid was P14 W6 D5 L3.

• Guardiola's Bayern München side lost 5-0 on aggregate to Madrid (0-1 a, 0-4 h) in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

• Have also played in England:
Luka Modrić (Tottenham 2008–12)
Gareth Bale (Tottenham 2007–13)
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea 2014–18)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea 2012–19)

• Have played in Spain:
Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad 2006–14, Barcelona 2014–16)
Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Club 2012–18)
Nicolás Otamendi (Valencia 2014/15)
Rodri (Villarreal 2016–18, Atlético Madrid 2018/19)
David Silva (Valencia 2000–10, Eibar 2004/05 (loan), Celta Vigo 2005/06 (loan))
Sergio Agüero (Atlético Madrid 2006–11)

• International team-mates:
Éder Militão, Rodrygo, Vinícius Júnior, Marcelo, Casemiro & Ederson, Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho (Brazil)
Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois & Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium)
Raphäel Varane, Ferland Mendy & Alphonse Areola, Benjamin Mendy (France)
Toni Kroos & Leroy Sané, İlkay Gündoğan (Germany)
Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Dani Carvajal, Isco, Marco Asensio & Rodri (Spain)

• Raheem Sterling scored twice as England won 3-2 against a Spain side containing Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Marco Asensio – with Rodri an unused substitute – in the UEFA Nations League in October 2018. Ramos was on target for the home side.