Pep Guardiola has revealed that Manchester City won’t use the overturning of their Champions League ban as motivation when they face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.
City were handed a two-year ban from the competition in February for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, but after a lengthy appeal, the decision was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in July – with an initial €30m fine cut by a third as well.
With City comfortably laying second in the Premier League table, they are automatic qualifiers for next year’s edition – and while there were some rivals who were angered and upset by the overturning of the ban, Guardiola has insisted that he never lost faith that the club would win their appeal, adding that they don’t need to use it as motivation ahead of their upcoming meeting with Real Madrid.
“This issue is over. Uefa accused us of being not fair in our process,” Guardiola said, in quotes carried by BBC Sport. “The rumours will always be there. They were always there in the past. It is not a situation that is now. It happened a long time ago.
“But we are happy because we showed to the world that we were clean and we have done properly what people asked. We know people talk about it. But it doesn’t give us any more satisfaction.”
Guardiola added that the club’s satisfaction didn’t come from CAS’ decision to overturn the ban, but from putting themselves in a position to participate again next season.
“The satisfaction comes from on the pitch because we qualified for the Champions League next season. Liverpool and ourselves have done it,” he added. “The other ones know how difficult qualification is from the Premier League. That is our satisfaction.”
City won the first leg against Real Madrid 2-1, but Los Blancos have been in sensational form following football’s return in June – wrapping up La Liga ahead of rivals Barcelona. City, meanwhile, have struggled to consistently perform, with losses to Chelsea, Southampton and Arsenal seeing the club relinquish their Premier League and FA Cup crowns.