Manchester City’s Txiki Begiristain refused to rule out signing Cristiano Ronaldo after his team drew Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final on Friday (15th April).
Txiki Begiristain, director of football, Manchester City (on Real Madrid and the competition):
“They are a giant of football. They won so many times. And they have reached the semi-final so many times that they are absolutely a big team. We are here because we deserve to be here. We have been solid in the 1-16s (knockout stage) and solid in the quarter finals against Paris Saint-Germain so now we have the right to dream about the final.”
(on Real Madrid):
“It is very difficult to say (we are favourites). I think we were maybe favourites against Paris Saint-Germain. And probably Atletico Madrid were not the favourites against Barcelona but they are here so the clubs who are here are here because they deserve to be in this semi-final. We have to keep moving and keep trying to show that we can defend well against any team. And the most important (thing) everybody knows, and they know, that we have very good players. We have pace. We have quality. And we have players who can score.”
(Have Manchester City the capacity to cope with Cristiano Ronaldo?):
“I think we are defending quite well. We had to play against players like (Angel) Di Maria in the quarter finals. We are doing really, really well. So we face up against some great players and I think defensively in the Champions League we have done okay. We are confident.”
Could Cristiano Ronaldo play for Manchester City one day?
“I think it is not time to speak about this. No? Let’s finish the season with the new manager and then we think about the future and we will talk about this. But I think he is very happy at Real Madrid. So why does he need to change?”
Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City manager:
(about Champions League draw)
“Well, it’s a difficult draw. It doesn’t matter which three teams we had to play, the three were difficult. I think the options to continue is the same for the same team. We expect to do very good games against a big team.”
(about Real Madrid)
“Well, I think for a big team it’s very important to try to arrive to the last stage of the Champions (League) and try to win the Champions (League), but also not to leave out their domestic games. So Real Madrid is a team that they know every year you must win (the) title and must be involved in all the competitions. At this moment I think they are playing the semi-final of the Champions League and they still have options in the Spanish League, so as always it is a team that is involved.”
Pep Guardiola, Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso gave their reactions on Friday (15th April) to the Champions League semi-final draw and Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga game at home to Schalke on Saturday (16th April).
Pep Guardiola, Bayern Munich coach:
“I have seen the Spanish League in the last few years. I know what a special and good team Atletico Madrid is. The last five years with the same coach. They play with his mentality. It’s a semi-final and all teams are difficult.”
“They (Atletico Madrid) are a great team in normal situations, offensive and defensive. They have very quick players up front with Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres and (Yannick Ferreira-) Carrasco and others. They have a big heart and spirit. And of course a new goal to fight for. All four teams want to reach Milan.”