Interview

“Anything can happen”

In a season of uncertainty and surprise, Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is taking nothing for granted as his side prepare to take on Lyon in the quarter-finals in Lisbon – a city the Portuguese playmaker knows well

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Interview

“Anything can happen”

In a season of uncertainty and surprise, Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is taking nothing for granted as his side prepare to take on Lyon in the quarter-finals in Lisbon – a city the Portuguese playmaker knows well

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

How does it feel to be back in Lisbon?

It’s spectacular to be in my city, fighting for such an important competition. So I’m very happy and looking forward to the games.

You left here as a teenager to play for AS Monaco and now you’ve returned as a man who has won both a French and an English league title.

The truth is that when I left Portugal at the age of 19 or 20, it was difficult for me to adapt. I left my parents’ home; I went to live alone. Today, six years have passed since I left Portugal. I feel like a different man and I’m very happy for my journey so far, for being able to win what I’ve won, not only for AS Monaco but also for Manchester City and the Portuguese national team. I hope to keep on winning many things, starting with this competition. As I said, it’s such an important competition to the club and me, and we want to give our best. 

What would it mean to you to lift the Champions League trophy here in Lisbon?

The Champions League is the only tournament that we haven’t won yet at this club. Manchester City has never won this trophy. Also, 95% of the players in our team have never won it, I personally haven’t either, so the possibility of winning this competition was always a goal for both the players and the team, and of course it would be very special. I have an extra motivation, because getting to win here, at home, would definitely be very special for me. 

Normally, the domestic season in England would start around your birthday on 10 August. But now you’re competing in the Champions League. How does that make you feel - and how was your birthday?

My birthday was great, thank you. We travelled to Portugal on that day so it was great to spend the end of the day in my city. It’s true that it’s quite different what is happening in football today and worldwide, because we are used to playing with supporters in the stands and because, as you said, at this point we would be starting a new season. But it’s been fantastic to play football again, even without supporters, to compete again and to fight for such important competitions like the Champions League. It’s such a special competition and we hope to give everything to go as far as possible.  

Is there any birthday cake left or have you eaten it all?

I haven’t eaten it all because I have to keep in shape for the matches, but we did celebrate it. They sang happy birthday, I blew the candles out and we ate a little piece of cake, and it was very nice.

You’ve been working with Pep Guardiola for three years. How much do you think you’ve evolved tactically under him?

A lot. It’s not a big secret that Pep is one of the best coaches in the world. Three years have passed and he’s a coach who demands a lot of the players on a daily basis in training, so I learn from him. I learned a lot when I arrived at the club and I had to adapt to his way of playing, but it’s been a pleasure without a doubt. The amount of titles we’ve won in these three years shows that the success of this team has been quite great, so obviously I’m very proud to be a part of this team. 

Your first opponent on this journey is Lyon, a club that you know well, having played in France. What are your thoughts on this match and is your strategy different from what you did against Real Madrid?

I played in France for three years and I played against them several times. Here, with Manchester City, I have also played against them last season, and it wasn’t easy. We couldn’t win either of the two matches, so that shows how difficult it was for us. I think that not only Lyon, but the French teams in general, are very physical and strong. On top of that we don’t know what the match is going to be like, although we know it’s going to be difficult. We have to be ready in the best way possible but we know that it’s not going to be easy. They are the team which knocked out Juventus and they are a great team, so it’s not easy to face them. Obviously, with regards to the match against Real Madrid, the match is going to be completely different because they are two teams that have different strategies and players, but it’s going to be a very difficult match for us. 

Are you feeling a bit more confident this year because some of the biggest teams are out of the tournament, and now one of either Barcelona or Bayern will be knocked out?

This is a different type of tournament, where anything can happen. As we said, Juventus were knocked out by Lyon, and we have seen many surprises over the years. Last year we lost against Tottenham in the quarter-finals. In a tournament like this, it’s impossible to guess what the results will be. Who knows? Thinking that because Liverpool and Real Madrid are out, and because either Bayern or Barcelona are going to be out that our journey is easier, is the wrong thing to do. We are going to focus on ourselves and we think that all the matches are challenging, because all the teams made it up to this point and they deserve it. We are going to do our best to win our matches and get to the final.

You mentioned that you have already won all the other trophies and that this is the only one missing. Do you think that motivates the team more to get to the final this year?

Since this is the only one we have never won, we are extra motivated to give it our all, to do our best and get as far as possible. The team, the fans, the staff and all of us know that our mission is to win this tournament. If we could do that this year we would be very proud and would have our names in the club’s history for being the first to win it for Manchester City.

You can get your copy of the 72-page Official 2020 Tournament Guide now on our sister site, european-nights.com. While you're there, why not pre-order your official 2020 UEFA Champions League Final Programme? Both the guide and programme are available in print or digital.

Penalty Pedigree

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