Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed striker Sergio Agüero will not recover from his knee injury in time to face Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Agüero needed surgery on the season-ending injury which he picked up during the first half of City's 5-0 win over Burnley in late June, but there was a cautious hope that he might be able to bounce back in time to face Real on 7 August.
Well, that hope has been completely extinguished by Guardiola, who said during a pre-match press conference (via the Evening Standard) that Agüero will not recover in time to try and help steer City through to the next round.
Agüero actually watched the first leg from the bench, with Bernardo Silva starting in more of a false nine role in the 2-1 victory. However, Silva struggled to impact the game and it was only after he was replaced by Raheem Sterling that City really got going.
Gabriel Jesus, who scored the equaliser that day, will likely start in attack, but Guardiola could also go down the false-nine route again if needed.
“We play against Real Madrid,” Guardiola continued. “If we think about the next step the king of this competition, Real Madrid, will put us out.
Jesus the saviour!— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 26, 2020
The vital away goal from Gabriel Jesus, the first from an English side in the knockout stages.
Brilliant work from Kevin de Bruyne for his 1️⃣7️⃣th assist of the season for Man City ? pic.twitter.com/ExQC71JUcO
“In this club, there is not one person who knows Real Madrid better than me. Their potential and history and we have to play this game. I saw the draw maybe two or three hours after it was made. I’ve got Brighton and continue to prepare for Arsenal [in the FA Cup].
"After that we have two games and a potential final to prepare for Real Madrid. That’s all I have in my mind.”
City's cause has been boosted by the news that the game will be played at the Etihad Stadium, allowing Guardiola's side the chance to use their home advantage to find their way into the quarter-final.
Source : 90min