City boss fears Real and Barca will raid Etihad for top stars
Pep Guardiola admitted the interest in players from Spain’s superpowers leaves even the biggest clubs trembling after Raheem Sterling revealed admiration for Real Madrid yesterday.
Sterling spoke glowingly about Real in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS (below), suggesting he would be open to a move to the Bernabeu.
‘In the future, hopefully, who knows?’ Sterling said when addressing the subject of a potential move.
‘I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at Manchester City. I’m enjoying it at the moment, even if things haven’t gone quite as planned in the league.’
City manager Guardiola is all too aware that interest from Real and Barcelona would represent a problem — particularly if UEFA’s two-year Champions League ban sticks following an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
‘Barca and Real Madrid are maybe the strongest and most powerful teams in terms of history. That is normal and I understand completely,’ said Guardiola.
‘But on the same point, you see the commitment from Raheem every single day when we arrive. He’s one of the best players in the world. It’s normal that big clubs see his desire for the team.
‘I don’t know if Madrid or Barcelona called his agent, but I don’t have any doubts about his commitment.’
Guardiola has always maintained he will see out his own contract at the Etihad Stadium, which runs until the end of next season.
The Catalan suggested he will sit down with chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak as soon as this summer to plot the future.
‘We have a good relationship, so I think it will not be a problem to understand both sides if we decide to stay three more years or (just) stay in the time we agreed together,’ Guardiola added.
‘I don’t regret one moment the decision we made together and I want to finish this contract and after that, we will see.’
City visit Leicester today, and Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers expressed his confidence that he can make his side a permanent fixture among English football’s elite.
‘We don’t have the resources of those teams that are supposed to be up there,’ he said. ‘But we want to find a way, through good coaching and management and developing players.’Daily Mail