They are wrong.
For a few reasons, let’s start with simple heritage, that immaterial, unquantifiable juice Real Madrid carry with them. We saw it in last years tie as Madrid won in one of the most improbable comebacks in the modern era of football. Add City’s ‘heritage’ or lack there of and one can see the odds they face even with Pep Guardiola at the helm. Madrid are the 14 time champions for a reason and to put that burden on City to be clear favourites is wrong.
Another reason are the players. In case you forgot, Madrid not only have the best goal keeper in the world, or at worst top two, they also have the reigning Ballon D’Or winner. Thibaut Courtois and Karim Benzema are special match winning players. And that’s not to say that City don’t have those type of players. But only one team has proven UCL winners that have done it before in UCL finals, unlike City. It makes for an incredibly difficult tie.
The last reason is City are still in the thick of two other tournaments, the league and the FA Cup. Meanwhile Real and both Milan clubs are out of contention for their respective leagues, making them more flexible with their personnel coming into the semi-finals than City. Real are heading into this tie with great circumstances and form that gives them a leg up on City to dash their hopes in the semi-final once again.
All in all, the possibility of Real beating City is a lot higher than most outlets have been pushing. Real is a team of great talent, pedigree, and big match experience. Pep Guardiola and City will once again have their hands full trying to contain Real. City will need their team at peak fitness to keep up on a trying schedule.
Two aspects that are different than last year’s tie are the not so secret weapon of Erling Haaland and the home match being the second leg, but let’s not kid ourselves, City are heading into this tie as the underdogs.
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