Football

Real Madrid a tough test for Man City, but Wayne Rooney backs Citizens

Manchester City struggle to prevent the best teams from scoring against them and their centre-backs could be targeted in the Champions League clash against Spanish champions Real Madrid on Saturday morning (Singapore time), said ex-England skipper Wayne Rooney.

Pep Guardiola's City lead Real after they won the away leg of their last-16 tie 2-1 in March, before Europe's elite club competition was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rooney, who won the competition with Manchester United in 2008, wrote in his column for the Sunday Times that City have their best opportunity yet to lift the trophy for the first time.

"Sergio Ramos is suspended which is a huge loss for the Real defence and City will score," he said.

"Whether they are solid enough at the back themselves is my only question.

"Real will target their centre-halves and it's a worry that this season every other (English Premier League) 'Big Six' club beat City... This shows Guardiola's team can struggle to keep the best sides out."

Rooney said he expected Real to allow City to dominate possession and then aim to hit them on the counter-attack, but his money is still on City.

"They don't have to chase the game. They don't have to score. They can even afford to lose 1-0 and go through," Rooney said.

"In the first leg, they surprised Real by sitting in themselves. It was the first time I've seen Guardiola play like that and I've a feeling he'll do the same at the Etihad. It could be a game of cat-and-mouse." - REUTERS

Football