Guardiola: Madrid are a special side

The former Barcelona coach has revealed his respect for Carlo Ancelotti’s team and believes they will provide the sternest possible test they could’ve faced in Europe

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola believes his side will face the most difficult opposition left in the Champions League when they take on Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The two teams will go head to head in the first leg of their semi-final tie at the Bernabeu and the former Barcelona boss believes even the possible absence of Cristiano Ronaldo will not weaken their hosts.

“Madrid are a special side and with Carlo Ancelotti as their manager they are the most difficult opponents that we could have drawn in this stage of the competition,” Guardiola told reporters.

“I’m always very happy to play in the semi-final of the Champions League, especially against a team like Madrid and with a team like Bayern. We need to play well and get a result.”

“Hopefully we can well and give a show to the fans. People want to see the best and if Cristiano plays, they will see the best.

“However, if [Ronaldo is unfit and] someone else plays, such as Isco in the Copa del Rey final, there will still be a show.

“Real used to have one real stand-out player [Ronaldo], now they have at least four.”

The former Barcelona boss holds an unbeaten record on his trips to Madrid, but is refusing to look at statistics ahead of Wednesday’s game.

“These statistics are from the past when I was with another club, in another situation. It has nothing to do with Wednesday’s match.

“We’ll have to put in a very good performance to win. It is always necessary to play well against Madrid, even more so with it being a semi-final.”

The 43-year-old also paid tribute to his side, who have been crowned Bundesliga champions and reached the final of the DFB-Pokal, as well as the Champions League semi-final stage.

“It’s very difficult to win the Champions League but I am very proud of my team after they won the Bundesliga in March.

“We are in the cup final and the semi-finals of the Champions League, which is not an easy achievement.

“We’ve won a lot of games and are playing well. We have been stable throughout the season and showed a lot of team spirit.”

Guardiola concluded by distancing himself from the vacant managerial position at Manchester United following David Moyes’ dismissal on Tuesday.

“I signed for three years when I joined Bayern and I feel that we can still improve. But it has taken time for me to change my Catalan culture and adopt a German style. It was not easy and I needed time.

“I still have a job to do at Bayern, I’m comfortable here and people respect my work. I want to stay here.”

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