Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos is surprised that Manchester City face near-certain elimination from the Champions League.
The Premier League champions will have their fate confirmed if they fail to beat their La Liga counterparts on Wednesday after collecting just two points from their opening four group games.
And Ramos, who reached the semi-finals of the tournament last season with the Spanish giants, revealed that he and his team-mates expected to be battling it out with Roberto Mancini’s side for the top spot in Group D.
“For me, it’s a surprise they are nearly out of the Champions League,” Ramos told reporters.
“We really thought City would be our main rivals to top the group.
“City are a big group of players, not just individuals. But that does not guarantee success in the Champions League.”
The defender was, however, quick to emphasise that Wednesday’s fixture has not lost any of its significance in light of City’s European struggles, and said Jose Mourinho’s side would look to take all three points.
He added: “This is the hardest group in the first round, and this match is very important for both clubs. We both need to win for different reasons.
“We want to top the group. Real Madrid never play defensively. That is not in our nature. We are going to Manchester to win.
“City have improved in the Premier League. But we do not fear them. Real Madrid can win in any stadium in the world.”