Luring Lautaro Martinez from Inter to Barcelona appears complicated.

Barca are reportedly determined to sign Martinez as the Spanish giants look to bring in a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

But, Barca reportedly need some help from other clubs to get the deal over the line.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO KEY TO LAUTARO DEAL

Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City are set for a three-way swap involving Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to Sport.

Martinez has been tipped to swap Inter for Barcelona but the LaLiga champions are trying to drive down the price.

The proposed exchange deal would see Nelson Semedo leave Barca for City, allowing Joao Cancelo to return to Inter as Martinez moves to Camp Nou.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have agreed a £62million (€70m) deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele, reports TodoFichajes. Dembele has been linked with United, Chelsea and Barca.

- The Telegraph says Bundesliga titleholders Bayern Munich are preparing a €56m (£50m) bid for City star Leroy Sane, who is set to return to Germany.

- Could Houssem Aouar replace Miralem Pjanic at Juventus? Pjanic is reportedly set to sign for Barca despite interest from United and Le10Sport claims Juve are eyeing Lyon star Aouar.

- Exchange deals might be needed for Juve to have a chance of completing their dream transfers. Linked to former star and United midfielder Paul Pogba, Il Bianconero says Douglas Costa, Adrien Rabiot and Federico Bernardeschi could be used to tempt the Red Devils. An exchange deal with Chelsea could also see Douglas Costa and Aaron Ramsey, and Jorginho and Emerson Palmieri, trade places.

Dries Mertens prefers a move to Inter over Chelsea should he leave Napoli, according to Sky Sport Italia. The Belgium international is set to become a free agent.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are focused on bringing Brescia and Italy sensation Sandro Tonali to San Siro.

Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to swap Inter for Barcelona.

Martinez, though, has emerged as a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

But, LaLiga champions Barca reportedly remain calm about the situation.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DON'T FEAR PSG AMID LAUTARO PURSUIT

Barcelona remain confident in their bid to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to the LaLiga champions, who view the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

Recent reports have claimed Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as suitors but Barca believe Martinez is committed to moving to Camp Nou.

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- Calciomercato says Milan have contacted Real Madrid about signing Luka Jovic. The Serbia forward has struggled since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of 2019-20. The report claims Milan are ready to spend €40million, while a two-year loan deal with a redemption obligation could happen. Meanwhile, Tuttomercato says Milan are eyeing a €20m move for Lyon star Memphis Depay, who is out of contract in June 2021.

Mauricio Pochettino is poised to become Newcastle United's next manager, according to Le10Sport. The former Tottenham boss has been linked amid Newcastle's prospective takeover.

- The Telegraph reports Manchester City and Bayern Munich are set to clash over Leroy Sane. The Germany international has reportedly agreed to join the Bundesliga champions, however, City are insulted by the £35m (€39.9m) valuation.

Juventus have opened talks with Jorginho as Maurizio Sarri looks to reunite with the Chelsea midfielder in Turin, says ESPN.

Manchester United are considering the prospect of delaying their move for Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Mirror.

Jupp Heynckes feels Manchester City attacker Leroy Sane is yet to become a "top player" and believes the reported Bayern Munich target is not worth €100million.

Sane, 24, was heavily linked with a move to Bayern before suffering a serious knee injury in August last year.

The German giants are reportedly still interested in Sane, but Heynckes – who won a Champions League and four Bundesliga titles as Bayern head coach – said the attacker was not yet among the world's best.

"He was in good shape before he injured himself so badly. For me, he has not yet made a breakthrough as an absolute top player," he told Welt am Sonntag.

"I think this is a player who is currently at a crossroads. Will he continue to work hard on himself, or will he continue to be just an extraordinary talent?"

Bayern were reportedly prepared to pay at least €100m for Sane, although that may have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Heynckes does not feel Sane, a 21-time Germany international, is worth that hefty sum.

"He has to be ready to take the next big step because there is no use in flashing the talent every now and then," he said.

"I can honestly tell you that I don't think the price is justified."

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes the enforced break in the Premier League could be beneficial for Leroy Sane.

Sane damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last August and was nearing a first-team return before the Premier League season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gundogan said he was sometimes training with Sane, 24, remotely and feels the attacker – who has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich – could be helped by the hiatus.

"We have the same fitness coach in Germany. Some days we do our exercises via FaceTime. It's worked out well so far and we're on it and trying to be very focused," he said, via the club's website.

"For everyone the situation has its good and bad sides. On one hand, Leroy had already trained with the team and he had his comeback in sight, even though he still had a few minor things.

"But he was almost back at playing again. Especially for your psyche, it's important to be able to play again after such a long time.

"On the other hand, he now has a bit more time to figure out those minor problems he still had. The fact that others can't play either is not so bad for him."

Gundogan, whose side were 25 points adrift of leaders Liverpool when play was halted, admitted it was at times tough to get motivated when training alone.

"I have a few things to do and then I'm ready to go," the Germany international said.

"To be honest, it's not so easy to motivate yourself these days every day when you are training. You know, like people who are working from home, you can maybe compare it to that.

"For those people it's also not the same as driving to work every day and then doing their jobs.

"You have to motivate yourself to do things and to do your work. Some days it's harder than others."

Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich appears back on, while Real Madrid are chasing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Sane was linked with a switch to Bayern last close-season but ended up staying at Manchester City.

It appears that move could be back on, while Madrid are maintaining interest in Arsenal star Aubameyang.

 

TOP STORY – SANE IN FRESH BAYERN TALKS

Sane's new agent is in fresh talks with Bayern Munich, according to The Sun.

The Germany attacker was the subject of transfer speculation last before the 2019-20 campaign, but then suffered a serious knee injury in August.

Bild reported on Tuesday that Sane believes he could win the Champions League with Bayern.

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid are interested in Arsenal's Aubameyang, according to Sport. The report says Barcelona are also keen to land the forward if they cannot sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

- LaLiga's 'big two' also reportedly want N'Golo Kante. However, Goal report the midfielder wants to stay at Chelsea unless he is forced out.

- With Diego Costa's future uncertain, Atletico Madrid may be looking for a forward. AS report Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette, who is contracted until 2022, is on the list of possible reinforcements for Los Colchoneros.

- Chris Smalling appears likely to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Roma. Calciomercato believe the Serie A club are already looking at alternatives, with Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen – out of contract at season's end – being considered.

- Olivier Giroud, another player out of contract at the end of the season, seems set to leave Chelsea. La Gazzetta dello Sport claim the striker is looking for a three-year deal from Inter, who were said to be interested in January. The report suggests Inter could offer the Frenchman a two-year contract with a club option for a third.

- Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana and Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze are set to become free agents. Calciomercato report Milan are unconvinced by Lallana and unwilling to sign Gotze due to his high wages.

Bayern Munich could sign Leroy Sane for as little as €30million but head coach Hansi Flick would prefer Timo Werner, according to Michael Rummenigge.

Sane had appeared likely to join the Bundesliga champions last August until an anterior cruciate ligament injury left a transfer impractical.

The Germany winger was close to making a comeback for Manchester City until the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is believed Bayern will consider another move for him in the next transfer window.

They have also been heavily linked with RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, who reportedly has a release clause in his contract worth in the region of €60m that will become active after 2019-20.

Rummenigge, who won three league titles and three domestic cups with Bayern between 1982 and 1988, thinks Werner is the preferred choice of Flick as he explores the idea of a system using two strikers.

However, he thinks Sane could be available for a reduced fee given he is close to the final 12 months of his contract and City could be keen to recoup some funds.

"Bayern have put their concrete transfer plans on hold and, during the coronavirus break, are concentrating primarily on contract extensions. This is completely understandable," he wrote in his column for Sportbuzzer.

"Nevertheless, they'll already be looking at the squad for the coming season. Two names in particular are mentioned again and again: Leroy Sane and Timo Werner.

"It all depends on the price, but I can't imagine Bayern getting both national-team players, especially since I heard Joshua Zirkzee will be promoted even more in future.

"Hansi Flick has already indicated he could play with two up front in his team in future. In short: Werner would be a really good buy, who would suit [Robert] Lewandowski and who could get even better alongside him.

"I wonder why top teams don't play with two strikers more often. In home games especially, it provides a lot more danger and more work for the opposition defenders. Werner would be a suitable candidate for this change in system.

"He'd have a fixed fee of between €50m and €60m. Bayern have these funds and I also believe Flick would prefer Werner's arrival to Sane's transfer. The cruciate ligament tear, which he suffered last August, leaves traces and slows down his development. It will probably take some time before Sane returns to his old level.

"Bayern would have bought him for €100m to €120m before the cruciate ligament rupture; a deal now could be significantly cheaper and maybe only cost €30m to €50m, because Sane's contract with Manchester City ends in 2021.

"If the Champions League ban for City persists, the club will also need money at some point in this coronavirus period to pay their salaries."

Lothar Matthaus believes Bayern Munich should target Timo Werner rather than Leroy Sane to reduce "the risk of agitation and bling-bling".

Former Bayern and Germany captain Matthaus has also predicted Manuel Neuer will move on at the end of the season, ending a nine-year stay at the club.

Head coach Hansi Flick, who has agreed a three-year deal after a successful spell in interim control, is expected to stamp his mark on the Bayern squad this summer.

That is likely to see a new forward joining, and Matthaus would prefer to see RB Leipzig frontman Werner arrive rather than long-time target Sane.

"My soft spot for Timo Werner is well known," Matthaus wrote in a column for sport.sky.de.

"And I don't mean to say that I don't think Leroy Sane is great. But you get the feeling that Flick and [Bayern board member Oliver] Kahn are more likely to see Timo Werner as the player who could be better suited to this club in many respects.

"He is more flexible on the pitch, his character may correspond a little bit more to the wishes of those in charge."

The comments from Matthaus alluding to Sane's character may cause some upset.

"The risk of agitation and bling-bling is significantly lower," Matthaus said. "He [Werner] can play at the very front in [Robert] Lewandowski's place, hanging behind or play on the wings. And he should also be cheaper."

Matthaus said Werner has "clearly developed this season, while pointing to Sane's lack of action at Manchester City due to a knee injury.

"I don't want to be misunderstood," Matthaus added. "Both players would bring added value to Bayern. But if I had to choose today, I would go for Timo Werner if I was in Bayern's place."

Matthaus sees Neuer, meanwhile, as approaching the end of the road at Sabener Strasse.

Bayern have signed Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, in a deal that will take effect at the end of the season, yet 34-year-old Neuer is reportedly seeking a long-term contract.

Matthaus suggested Neuer, whose current deal expires next year, should accept a three-year contract rather than push for greater security, but he has a hunch the long-standing number one will move on.

"I think the signs point to goodbye," Matthaus said.

"He wants to play. He wants to play more and longer. This is totally understandable with his quality. I don't think he will play in Munich again next season."

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists a swap deal involving David Alaba and Leroy Sane has "nothing to do with reality".

The futures of both Bayern utility man Alaba and Manchester City winger Sane remain unclear as the two are on deals that run out in 2021.

The noise surrounding Austria international Alaba, 27, has only intensified since he reportedly hired a new agent, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea all mooted as possible destinations.

Sane, who is yet to play in the Premier League this season due to a knee injury, is a long-time target for Bayern and the Bundesliga leaders could reignite their interest once the transfer window reopens, though a simple swap deal involving Alaba has been dismissed by Rummenigge.

"As I've heard, rumours are circulating that we would like to hand David Alaba over to Manchester City in exchange for Leroy Sane," he told TZ.

"In addition, I say very clearly: This is Grimm's Fairy Tale and has nothing to do with reality."

On the suggestion a swap had been proposed by Alaba's agent, Rummenigge added: "I would like to say very clearly that this is not an option for Bayern at all, we are not in the bazaar."

Alaba is one of a host of long-serving players whose current deal with Bayern expires after next season.

Manuel Neuer, Thiago Alcantara and Thomas Muller, all of whom had been in fine form before the Bundesliga campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, are also coming to the end of their contracts.

"I would like to emphasise that we are currently only talking to players whose contracts expire in 2021," Rummenigge said.

"So, with Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Thiago, David Alaba et cetera. They all have great merits for FC Bayern, that has to be taken into account."

There could be a number of goalkeeping changes around Europe.

With Kepa Arrizabalaga's future uncertain at Chelsea, Manuel Neuer is reportedly an option for Frank Lampard's side.

Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen has also been linked with a move away from Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGET NEUER

Chelsea are interested in signing Bayern Munich captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, according to Sport Bild.

Lampard's Chelsea are reportedly looking to move on from Kepa – the world's most expensive goalkeeper after leaving Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

Neuer is on Chelsea's radar, with the Germany star yet to agree a new deal at Bayern, who have been linked to fellow German and Barcelona keeper Ter Stegen.

ROUND-UP

Leonardo Bonucci to Manchester City? Calciomercato claims Pep Guardiola is "obsessed" with Bonucci and wants to bring the Juventus defender to the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season. Juve, however, are unwilling to sell the Italy international.

- The Mirror claims Barcelona are tracking Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The Frenchman became Tottenham's club-record signing ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, but he has struggled in London amid criticism from head coach Jose Mourinho. Spurs have been linked to RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer.

- Bayern star David Alaba is likely to leave the Bundesliga champions at the end of the season, reports Sky Sport Germany. It comes as reports link the Austria international to Barca and Real Madrid. Meanwhile, The Sun claims City are set to be offered Alaba and cash for Leroy Sane.

Inter are considering a move to sign Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen as a free agent at season's end, says Calciomercato. The Nerazzurri are also unwilling to keep Alexis Sanchez, who is on loan from Manchester United.

Mauro Icardi has turned down a transfer to LaLiga in order to push for a move to Juventus, according to Elgoldigital. Icardi is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter.

- Calciomercato says United and Tottenham have made offers for Inter centre-back Diego Godin. The reports adds United are looking to sign both Godin and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

Pep Guardiola claims Leroy Sane was fit to make his Manchester City first-team return "weeks ago" but remains short of rhythm.

Sane suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during last August's Community Shield triumph against Liverpool, scuppering both his season and a purported switch to Bayern Munich.

The Germany winger resumed full training last month, when he featured for City's under-23 team against Arsenal.

However, he has not featured in one of Guardiola's matchday squads during a run of games that has included a Champions League trip to Real Madrid, the EFL Cup final and a Manchester derby.

"He is getting better week by week," the City manager said of Sane's fitness, while not ruling out the prospect of the 24-year-old featuring when his team host Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday.

"He is training, he is not injured. He can play. Another issue is a lack of rhythm, the tempo, the moment of the season. We are going to decide.

"But yes, he was ready weeks ago."

Guardiola again backed first-choice goalkeeper Ederson, who was culpable for both goals conceded as Manchester United claimed the local bragging rights with a 2-0 win over their neighbours at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"He's an extraordinary keeper. You and me [the reporter], we cannot make mistakes because we are sitting," he said. "The players can make mistakes wherever they want. It is how they react and he always reacts good."

Guardiola confirmed he has remained in regular contact with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, his former assistant who left City to take charge of the Gunners in December.

Raheem Sterling previously cited Arteta's nurturing influence as a factor in his improvement over recent seasons but Guardiola doubts the England forward's ongoing 12-match goal drought can be attributed to the ex-Everton midfielder no longer being part of the Premier League champions' coaching staff.

"You have to ask Raheem," he said. "Raheem has scored goals and is going to score goals. The talent is there.

"Of course, Mikel helped all of us as much as possible. Not just Raheem, all the players.

"My assistant coaches are free to do what they think to help the team. We try to do our best for the club we defend, and the people we work with, to do as well as possible on the pitch."

Influential duo Kevin De Bruyne (shoulder) and Aymeric Laporte (hamstring) will be assessed ahead of the Arsenal game after their absences were keenly felt last weekend.

Barcelona know what they want to do with Philippe Coutinho should the attacker return to the club from Bayern Munich.

Coutinho is on a season-long loan at the Bundesliga club, who have an option to buy the Brazil international at the end of the campaign.

But Barca reportedly already have plans in place if the 27-year-old comes back to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLAN TO USE COUTINHO AS MAKEWEIGHT IF HE RETURNS

Barcelona will use Coutinho as a makeweight in any of the huge deals they are planning in the close season, according to Sport.

The LaLiga giants are reportedly again targeting Neymar, who was linked with a return but ended up staying at Paris Saint-Germain last year.

PSG and Liverpool are rumoured to be interested in Coutinho, although Bayern have a €120million option to buy the playmaker.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus' interest in Mauro Icardi is ongoing. CalcioMercato reports Juve still want the forward, who is on loan at PSG from Inter, with the Ligue 1 club holding a €70m purchase option. Goal reports Juventus are also monitoring Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, who has a €50m release clause.

- Linked with a move to Bayern Munich, Leroy Sane may yet remain at Manchester City. The Telegraph reports the attacker, who has been sidelined with a serious knee injury, will consider staying at the Premier League club beyond this season.

- Hirving Lozano's Napoli stay may be short-lived. Corriere dello Sport reports Atletico Madrid have their sights set on the Mexico international, who is out of favour under Gennaro Gattuso in his first season at the Serie A club.

- Having dealt with defensive problems this season, Manchester City seemingly have a solution in mind. CalcioMercato reports the Premier League giants are ready to again make a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, a player they have been linked to previously.

- Already up to 15 goals this season, Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin appears set to be rewarded for his good form. The Times report the 22-year-old – apparently a target for Manchester United previously – is ready to sign a deal until 2025 with the Premier League club.

- Arsenal have started talks over a move for Feyenoord's 19-year-old playmaker Orkun Kokcu for £23m (€26.5m), according to the Daily Mail.

Phil Foden has the sort of attitude that means he can achieve whatever he wants to in football, according to Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

The 19-year-old put in a fine display as City won the EFL Cup for the third year running with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday.

Foden's performance has apparently put him in contention for an England call-up when Gareth Southgate's men face friendlies with Italy and Denmark at the end of March.

Guardiola says Foden's immediate aims should just be to keep improving but the former Barcelona coach has no doubt about the attacking midfielder's potential.

"I want the best for him. He will get what he deserves and of course I'm delighted about his performance and behaviour in good and bad moments," Guardiola said when previewing the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Sheffield Wednesday. 

"He just works, and it always pays off. At 19 you have a lot to improve but with this behaviour he can do whatever he wants."

City have little time to dwell on their latest domestic success with preparations having already begun for the trip across the Pennines to face Wednesday at Hillsborough.

Leroy Sane was tipped to be in contention against the Owls after playing 57 minutes for City's Under-23 side on Friday. 

The Germany winger sustained a serious knee injury in August's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool, but Guardiola says the Wednesday game comes too soon.

"No. He's not ready. Six months, he needs the process. When you're out, you start, you feel good but he's not especially confident. He's doing the normal steps he needs to come back," added Guardiola, who confirmed Sergio Aguero is fit after sustaining a knock versus Villa and Claudio Bravo will again play in goal.

"[With the] second team [he played] 50-60 minutes, now it's weeks and weeks and weeks [of gaining full fitness]."

City remain a huge 22 points adrift of Liverpool in the Premier League, but the Reds saw their unbeaten top-flight record ended by Watford a day before Guardiola's men triumphed at Wembley.

Guardiola, though, did not entertain the notion the two results suggest the gap between Liverpool and City this season is not as big as the table suggests.

"The league is deserved, and it is done," he said. 

"In other competitions, we have won two this season and now we have the cup and the Premier League because we have to improve to finish second and get the most points as possible and then there are two competitions: the FA Cup and Champions League."

Guardiola also said he was impressed by the focus his team have shown in training ahead of the Wednesday fixture and insists there is no complacency from the EFL Cup success.

"They trained so well today [Tuesday], they were focused, the team is so ready to play tomorrow. I like that," Guardiola observed.

Manchester City star Leroy Sane said he is feeling confident after stepping up his injury comeback via the club's Under-23 team in a boost for Pep Guardiola.

Sane had been sidelined since suffering anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage in the Community Shield clash against Liverpool in August but the rumoured Bayern Munich target returned on Friday.

The 24-year-old Germany international winger played 57 minutes as City defeated Arsenal 4-2 in the U23 clash at the Emirates Stadium.

"It felt really good," he said afterwards. "It was good to get a general feeling of how it is to be back on the pitch and how quick it can all be.

"There's still a gap until I'm 100 per cent and on the level I was before. There's no doubt about that, but generally, everything feels good.

"I feel confident and I had no problems, so I am happy with today. Of course it would be good if I could get back as soon as possible to the best I can be, like I was before. But I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself to do that.

"I have to get used to the tempo and how quick it is because if you're out for the time I was, you have to get up to speed."

Sane has called City home since 2016 after arriving from Bundesliga outfit Schalke, and he has won two Premier League titles to go with FA Cup, EFL Cup and Community Shield honours.

Pep Guardiola has lauded Sergio Aguero for his "incredible" reaction to learning he was not in the starting line-up against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Neither Aguero nor David Silva got off the bench as City claimed a 2-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu to take control of the Champions League last-16 tie.

Both players, along with Raheem Sterling, will now be pushing to start on Sunday when City aim to win a third EFL Cup in a row by defeating Aston Villa at Wembley.

Far from feeling they reacted angrily to being left out of the side in the Spanish capital, Guardiola has called for every player to follow the example set by Silva, Sterling and Aguero in particular.

"In these three guys, the behaviour in the locker toom was an incredible exception, specifically these three players," he said on Friday. "It was exceptional. I'm so proud about the reaction they had, knowing they wanted to play, of course, I understand that.

"Sergio was incredible, honestly, I never could express my gratitude and my thanks to him, to understand me a little bit and to help the team, being a legend as he is for what he has done for this club. I need him; we need him. I know he is ready to help us, and David as well, and even John [Stones], and Oleks [Zinchenko], and Eric [Garcia] as well, on the bench. My complete gratitude. I would love all the players to be like them."

Guardiola hopes the result in Madrid gives his side confidence as they aim to win what would be an eighth domestic trophy out of the last 11 available to them.

Along with back-to-back EFL Cup and Premier League triumphs, City have also won two Community Shields and last season's FA Cup since finishing empty-handed in Guardiola's first campaign in charge.

"Of course, it's better, it's much better to go to play a final after a good result in Madrid but we cannot live a final thinking how good we were," he said. 

"[The tie] is not done, first of all. Always I thought that it's incredibly difficult to win at big, big clubs, but it's an incredible challenge, more difficult to beat them twice. Normally, it doesn't happen. The big clubs can lose one game, but two? Rarely, it's not often. But it helps. In football, teams are a state of emotion. It's better to go to play a final not just with results but with the character, the way we played.

"For the Manchester City fans, they are going to remember [this period]. After winning the Carabao Cup for the first time, we have played 11 competitions. If tomorrow [Sunday] we win, it's eight [trophies], eight from 11 is incredible, and the last six domestic titles, being in the race for them and to win all of them, if we are able to win it…

"There are no words to express the gratitude to the players and the people working together to achieve it. It's so difficult. Honestly. It's so difficult to maintain. Now, we've played [for] 10 tiles, and we've won seven. It's massive."  

Guardiola hopes authorities will take only appropriate action amid the proliferation of the novel coronavirus, which is already impacting fixtures across Europe, particularly in Italy.

"It's a worldwide situation," he said. "Always I would like, when we are informed from authorities, politicians, the people in charge, to be serious about the message they are going to tell us as citizens. I think that is the most important thing.

"I think worldwide they are doing as much as possible to eradicate it but try to avoid if it's not necessary to make a big alarm for society. They have a duty to inform what is exactly the situation and prevent if we need it. If not: calm, work and make a normal life for everyone."

Guardiola expects Aymeric Laporte to be sidelined for up to a month with a hamstring problem sustained in Madrid, but the City manager had better news on Leroy Sane, who is to play for the Under-23 side as part of his recovery from a serious knee injury.

"There are a few things I don't like about your country, for example the academy teams cannot play in strongest leagues, but at the same time it's an incredible, good decision here in England that players for the first team, to recover, can play in the second one for their recovery," he added.

"I don't want to put a target line [on his first-team comeback]. We will see the game and speak with him. How does he feel? How did he feel against Arsenal? But it's good."

Raheem Sterling and Aymeric Laporte have been named in Manchester City's initial squad for Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first leg with Real Madrid.

England international Sterling has missed City's last two games with a hamstring injury, while Laporte left the field before the hour mark in Saturday's 1-0 win against Leicester City.

However, both players have been included as part of the Premier League champions' 22-man travelling party for the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Leroy Sane was thought to be in contention after returning to training last month, but the winger did not make the trip to the Spanish capital on Tuesday.

Madrid also named their 19-man squad on the eve of the match, with Gareth Bale returning to the fold after sitting out Saturday's 1-0 loss at Levante through illness.

Eden Hazard misses out on selection after sustaining a potentially season-ending ankle injury in the same match, but striker Luka Jovic is back involved.

Zinedine Zidane's men head into the game on a run of one win in their last four matches, while City have won back-to-back games.

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