Manchester City ban: Pep Guardiola spoke of Champions League 'dream' days before expulsion

Man City banned from European football for two seasons; City to appeal against verdict

Sergio Aguero came off with an injury during Manchester City's win against Chelsea
Image: Sergio Aguero has scored 78 league goals in three-and-a-half seasons under Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola and Sergio Aguero told Sky Sports of their "dream" of winning the Champions League with Manchester City - just days before City were hit with a two-season ban from European football.

Guardiola had already publicly admitted he would be judged "a failure" at the Etihad if he failed to make the club European champions for the first time.

And talking to Sky Sports ahead of their later-postponed game with West Ham at the start of February, Guardiola opened up on his dreams of lifting the trophy he has already won twice as a manager - although not since 2011.

City face Real Madrid in the last sixteen of this year's Champions League, with the first leg at the Bernabeu on February 26, but the tie will now go ahead against the backdrop of the club's impending suspension for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.

Pep Guardiola is more pre-occupied with winning trophies this season than planning the look of his squad for the next campaign 1:02
Pep Guardiola is under pressure at Manchester City after the club were banned from European football for two years, says their former player Michael Brown.

"I want to win the Champions League, I dream," said Guardiola earlier this month. "I will enjoy preparing the games against Madrid, to see what we can do, and this process, the two weeks before will be the happiest moments for me to work out what we can do to get them.

"I know that [the club] want to do it, they tell me, I accept it, I live with that, it's happened, but the important thing is to be proud of the way your team play and try to do your best. We give a bad message for the new generation for our kids, to just count the winner, the trophies.

"But if we don't beat them, can the chairman say it's not good enough, we didn't win the Champions League, I'm going to sack you? Okay, it was a pleasure. I don't know if he'll say that, it's happened many times. He might say we did well, we can improve, and since day one of me arriving here that's what I got from this club.

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"I want to improve, of course. I want to try, but I cannot assure you that every season we will win the domestic title, the Champions League - I would love it, but I'm not good enough."

Man City say they are "disappointed but not surprised" by their ban, describing the process as "prejudicial", and will take the case to Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A general view outside of the stadium ahead of the Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at Etihad Stadium on December 21, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. 7:34
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol explains the background to Manchester City's European ban and what happens next.

Aguero: Champions League on my mind every year

Sergio Aguero's CV is also missing European football's biggest club prize, and City's all-time leading goalscorer told Sky Sports earlier this month it is the trophy he craves most.

Unless City win the competition this year or succeed in having their ban lifted, the Argentine will be almost 35 by the time he gets his next shot at the Champions League with the club.

When asked what he still wanted to achieve in England, Aguero told Sky Sports: "The Champions League. Yes, we've won the Premier League but, always in my mind, I hope to win the Champions League before I leave this club because it's the best trophy in the world.

"[It has been on my mind every year] because the Champions League is so difficult to win, but we will try to do it this year. We play Real Madrid, but I think we've got a good squad and good players."

Analysis: Is this the end for Guardiola at the Etihad?

Sky Sports News reporter Ben Ransom…

"Guardiola wouldn't be human [if he wasn't now considering his future]. Most of your initial reaction when your club is apparently under attack is for everyone to batten down the hatches and come together as one. I'm sure his instant reaction will be to want to be a part of Man City and stand with the club.

"It's too early to say what he'll be thinking right now. In the short term, he'll be very unhappy at not being able to compete to win that elusive Champions League for Man City in the next two seasons, should he stay that long.

A new poster showing members of the Manchester City team celebrating has been placed at the entrance to the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England to celebrate Manchester City winning the Premier League title on April 16, 2018. Pep Guardiola's side were crowned kings of English football yesterday as their arch rivals Manchester United slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat against struggling West Bromwich Albion 1:34
Chief news reporter Bryan Swanson explains the implications after Manchester City were banned from Europe for breaches of UEFA's financial fair play rules.

"From his point of view now, it will be about going as far as he can in the competition this season because it is the biggest trophy they are still competing for, given Liverpool's dominance in the Premier League.

"A lot will depend on the appeal and what City get back from the Court of Arbitration for Sport."

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