This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Manchester City will blow Real Madrid away, says Wayne Rooney

DC United coach Wayne Rooney believes Manchester City forward Erling Haaland shifts the balance for the team against Real Madrid. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID – As Manchester City chase the treble, Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has suggested that arguably their biggest obstacle in that quest, European champions Real Madrid, will be “blown away” by Pep Guardiola’s team.

The teams face off on Tuesday in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final in Madrid in a repeat of last season’s last-four clash.

Twelve months ago, City seemed set for a second consecutive final when they led 5-3 on aggregate heading into stoppage time of the second leg at the Bernabeu.

But they were stunned by two goals in two minutes by Rodrygo before Karim Benzema’s penalty completed the comeback in extra-time as Madrid went on to lift the Champions League for a 14th time.

Rooney, who won the title in 2008 and is United’s all-time leading scorer, wrote in his column for The Times: “City will not just beat Real Madrid in their Champions League semi-final – they’ll blow them away.

“Of course, I may be wrong. There is no side better at disproving arguments against them than Carlo Ancelotti’s Real in the Champions League. But I just think City are so good that they’re on another level.

“Since the start of the season, I’ve felt this would be the campaign when Pep Guardiola would finally conquer Europe with City and the incredible football his team have played over the past couple of months – and the way they are peaking at the right time – has only strengthened that belief.”

Fuelling that belief is goal machine Erling Haaland, who was not part of City’s team last season, having only joined from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

Said the DC United coach: “City are better at the back and a more patient team who, in the Champions League, have been playing like they have learnt from their European experiences.

“But the biggest change is Erling Haaland, of course. It is he who really shifts the balance between these sides. At the Bernabeu, I thought City’s performance was incredible and Pep got his tactics spot-on. The team just had a mad five minutes, which does sometimes happen. With Haaland, however, it wouldn’t have got to that stage.”

City may have Haaland now, but could be without defender Nathan Ake, who did not train on Monday after suffering what looked like a calf injury during the 2-1 Premier League win over Leeds United at the weekend. Real left-back Ferland Mendy will also miss out but crucially, midfield maestro Luka Modric should be fit to feature.

City attacker Jack Grealish told The Daily Mail: “All I can say is that I have never had so much confidence and belief in my teammates and myself before a game as I have before going there next week.”

Homegrown starlet Phil Foden believes City have a “strong” chance against Real and is relishing playing at the Bernabeu.

He said: “I think (our chances are) strong, we’ve got to be positive. We’ve got to believe in ourselves. We’ve obviously reached the final before, so we’ve proven that we can get to them stages...

“Even though we lost, I love Madrid away. The atmosphere and to play in a special stadium like that. I enjoyed every moment and obviously the game didn’t go how we wanted it to. But just the experience of playing in that stadium was so good.”

However, Ancelotti warned that the Bernabeu means City will be playing against 12 men.

Speaking after winning the Copa del Rey against Osasuna at the weekend, the Italian said: “My message is let’s go for Tuesday, that’s it. We know that like today and like other days at the Bernabeu, they will push us. We have a small advantage in the first leg and that is that we play with 12 against 11.”

While former Real winger Steve McManaman warned City that his former team “always just seem to do enough” in Europe, he admitted that playing the second leg at the Etihad is an advantage for City.

He told ESPN: “Judging by their performance tonight (against Osasuna) they have to improve exponentially to beat Manchester City. But in the Champions League they do find something else.

“Going into the tie, you would certainly say Manchester City are the favourites to qualify. Particularly with the second game being at the Etihad. I think that’s a big thing.” AFP, REUTERS