Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bernardo Silva keen to avoid Ronaldo showdown in Champions League

SoccerNews in Serie A 13 Mar 2019

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Bernardo Silva has little desire for Manchester City to face a Champions League showdown with his international team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Silva contributed to a glut of goals as City thumped Schalke 7-0 in the last 16 on Tuesday, rounding off a 10-2 win that stands as the second-largest aggregate victory in Champions League history.

But there was drama elsewhere on the same night as Ronaldo netted a hat-trick in Juventus’ 3-0 triumph over Atletico Madrid, the Italian team overturning a 2-0 first-leg deficit to progress.

Ronaldo is a five-time winner of Europe’s premier club competition and now the driving force as Serie A giants Juve try to claim their first continental triumph for 23 years.

The Champions League is the remaining major honour on City’s hitlist following their Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008 and Silva – who penned a long-term contract extension less than 24 hours after the Schalke game – feels drawing Ronaldo and Juventus would be unhelpful in pursuit of their goal.

“I wouldn’t like it very much to be honest,” he said. “I know him, I know what he’s capable of and once again he proved it.

“When you are playing in a competition like the Champions League you have to know that you can get drawn against these kind of teams, these kind of players.

“It is a good thing. It means you are playing the best competitions, the best games and we will see who we are playing against.

“Of course, to play against Cristiano and Messi it is always complicated.”

Ronaldo is poised to return to international duty ahead of Portugal’s participation in the inaugural Nations League Finals on home soil this June.

The 34-year-old has not featured since the 2018 World Cup and, while effusively praising Silva’s contribution at club level this season, City boss Pep Guardiola claimed his man had become Portugal’s “biggest star”.

“I think people interpreted things a little different to what he meant,” the former Monaco favourite said, while insisting Ronaldo had not brought up the subsequent comparison between the two.

“What Cristiano has done over the last 15 years in football means he is probably one of the best players ever in the history of football. So there’s no comparison to him.”

City remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple, having pipped Chelsea to the EFL Cup last month, but Silva feels last season’s chastening Champions League quarter-final loss to Premier League title rivals Liverpool serves as a warning that they should not get ahead of themselves.

“I think it’s still early. Quarter-finals, we have to go stage by stage,” he said.

“Of course, we have big ambition to do as well as possible in this competition because we know we have a good team.”

On the 5-1 aggregate loss to Jurgen Klopp’s side last season, Silva added: “When you make bad games, when you make mistakes you have to learn from them. 

“That game, especially away was a difficult game for us. We tried to learn from that and we will try in the future not to make the same mistakes.”

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