Man City crave Super Cup as next step on European rise

AFP , Tuesday 15 Aug 2023

Rodri believes winning the UEFA Super Cup for the first time on Wednesday is another chance to put Manchester City "on the map in Europe" after ending their long wait to lift the Champions League.

Manchester City s Spanish midfielder Rodri. AFP
Manchester City s Spanish midfielder Rodri. AFP

 

The Spanish midfielder was the hero in Istanbul just over two months ago when City beat Inter Milan 1-0 to become European champions for the first time.

Sevilla stand in City's way of another European trophy in Athens after the Spaniards lifted their seventh Europa League in 17 years back in May.

"Tomorrow, we have another chance to put City on the map in Europe again. That's what we want," said Rodri, who won the 2018 Super Cup with Atletico Madrid.

"We are always hungry and want to win every trophy we play."

City will be without Kevin De Bruyne in the Greek capital after the Belgian was ruled out for up to four months with a serious hamstring injury, while Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva are missing due to concussion and illness respectively.

Pep Guardiola has bemoaned his side's lack of preparation time for the new campaign and a congested schedule due to their success in winning the treble last season.

'Honour' to be here

City began their campaign by losing on penalties against Arsenal in the Community Shield and face further fixture congestion later in the year when they travel to the Club World Cup in Saudi Arabia in December.

But Guardiola described playing in the Super Cup as an "honour" after ending his 12-year wait to win a third Champions League title as a coach.

"Man City have never won that trophy because you have to win the Champions League or Europa League to be here," he said.

"What an honour it is to play this competition and we go for it."

City's road to Champions League glory last season started with a 4-0 victory at Sevilla.

The Spaniards failed to get out the group stage, but made the most of their consolation prize of dropping down into the competition they have made their own in recent years.

Despite a difficult domestic season, finishing 12th in La Liga, Sevilla again saved their best for the Europa League as Manchester United, Juventus and Roma were vanquished on their way to victory in Budapest.

Sevilla boss Jose Luis Mendilibar suffered routinely at the hands of Guardiola during the latter's time in charge of Barcelona, losing seven of the eight meetings between the two.

City striker Erling Haaland has also been a repeated scourge of the Spaniards, scoring six times against them in three previous meetings.

But Mendilibar believes his side are capable of springing another huge upset on the European stage despite losing their opening La Liga game of the campaign at home to Valencia.

"City can lose and we've come here to win. Who knows what will happen?" Mendilibar said. "Football matches can truly turn on a single moment. Big teams can have a bad day. Lots of things contribute to who wins."

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