Pep Guardiola might have enjoyed tremendous success at Manchester City and built a dynasty in the Premier League, but the Spaniard continues to search for his first Champions League title with the club. This time around, they once again have Real Madrid standing in their way, having lost the semi-finals last season at the hands of Los Blancos.
Real Madrid won the tie in thrilling fashion. For almost 180 minutes, Manchester City looked to be going through, only for Rodrygo to crop up with a late brace in the second leg and then Karim Benzema won it in extra-time.
This could be a very different tie though. Manchester City are a very different team, now that Erling Haaland is the focal point of their forward line. On the other hand, Real Madrid have undergone some changes over the past season as well.
One player seems to have caught the attention of Guardiola in particular. And that is none other than Vinicius Jr. As reported by SPORT, the Manchester City manager said about the Brazilian winger:
"“Vinicius is a player who sinks you every time they can make contact with him. They repeat a lot. He’s got a lot of experience because his players have been in similar situations. It’s good news that we’re getting closer.”"
Guardiola gives special praise to Real Madrid player
Vinicius was superb last season as well but there were some doubts as to whether it was a one-off campaign on his part. It has proven to be anything but that.
In fact, one could argue that Vinicius has improved further this season. According to stats from Transfermarkt, he has scored 22 goals and provided 21 assists in 50 appearances across all competitions this season till now.
Those are exceptional numbers to say the very least. And that includes goals and assists against the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and more.
Thus, Vinicius is quite clearly a difference maker. The Brazilian winger is someone that Manchester City will have to keep an eye on if they are to have any hope of going through to the final this time around.