Owen showers Man City with praise after 'ripping apart' Real Madrid
‘They’re a different class to anything on this planet’: Michael Owen showers Man City with praise after ‘ripping apart’ Real Madrid to book their spot in the Champions League final… as Rio Ferdinand puts his allegiances aside to ‘respect true class’
- Michael Owen heaped praise on Man City after their 4-0 rout of Real Madrid
- Pep Guardiola’s side are in the Champions League final after beating Los Blancos
- And Owen believes City will go on to complete the Treble with their current form
Michael Owen insists Manchester City are nailed on to win the Treble this season after they tore apart Real Madrid to book their spot in next month’s Champions League final.
A June 10 clash with Inter Milan in Istanbul beckons after a spectacular display of skill, strength and nous at a rocking Etihad Stadium against the reigning champions on Wednesday.
City drew 1-1 with Champions League kings Madrid last week and ran out 4-0 victors as Bernardo Silva’s brace was complemented by an own goal from Eder Militao and substitute Julian Alvarez’s effort in a stunning last-four display.
The 5-1 aggregate triumph has now put City on course to seal the Treble and Liverpool great Owen was left in awe of Pep Guardiola’s side.
‘Man City were a totally different class to anything on this planet at the moment,’ Owen told BT Sport. ‘They absolutely ripped Real Madrid apart. That first half performance was as good as I can remember.
Michael Owen heaped praise on Man City after their 4-0 rout of Real Madrid on Wednesday
Owen (right) and Rio Ferdinand (centre left) were left in awe of Pep Guardiola’s side
‘I mean they killed them straight away, broke their hearts and the game was already over at half time. Very professional in the second half and the damage was already done. Sensational, they have been for the last couple of months and everybody is fit in their squad.
‘Everybody has been playing at their top level, they’ve got a manager who is an absolute genius and this team, I cannot see them doing anything other than winning all three trophies.’
Their performance to dump the reigning European champions out like that cannot be bettered, according to Owen, who believes City performance at the Etihad was as dominant as it gets.
When asked if he had seen a more one-sided affair at this stage, Owen said: ‘Yes, as good as it gets. I can’t really remember anyone, I mean Liverpool have blown teams away in the first half in recent years, but I’m trying to think of something as dominant as that.
‘That was ruthless – and you’ve got to take into consideration the opposition and the stage of the competition as well. The pressure that was on them, everything. That was just unbelievable. It took my breath away watching it.’
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand admitted that he had to put his allegiances aside and applaud the display he saw his local rivals.
Ferdinand added: ‘Listen, I come from the red side of the town but you have to pay homage and respect true class.
‘When you see a top level performance like this, Pep Guardiola has got this side in formidable form and just at the perfect time. They’re purring now.
‘They’ve reeled in Arsenal in the league, and now they’ve dismantled an experienced team with some devastating players and put them to the sword and made them look like a team of a different class.’
The win will have also vindicated Guardiola, following his side’s 2021 final loss by Chelsea, which was compounded by last year’s agonising semi-final exit at the hands of Wednesday’s opponents Real.
Bernardo Silva scored a brilliant first-half brace to put City on course to a memorable victory
‘Listen, I had the feeling these last days that we had a mix of calm and tension to play this type of game,’ Guardiola said of that heart-breaking late 6-5 aggregate extra-time loss last term.
‘After 10 or 15 minutes, I had the feeling that all the pain that we had during one year from what happened last season was there today.
‘It was so hard and tough last season when we played quite similar to today and I remember Toni Kroos gave an interview saying they could have lost 10-1 or 10-2 at the Etihad.
‘Kroos is one of the best players I have ever seen and trained and when he says that it means we were there and it was really tough losing the way we lose.
‘In that moment, we had to swallow poison and football and sport always gives you another chance.
‘When the draw was Madrid, I said ‘yeah I want it’. I wanted it because I think today everything was there – the energy we had from a year of being criticised as players for not having character when we lost because it was football.
‘Today it was there and I’m pleased for the whole organisation – for the chairman, owner, staff and especially all the players because we accepted the defeat and today we were there.’
City are overwhelming favourites with bookmakers to beat Inter, just as they are to lift the FA Cup against rivals Manchester United seven days before that date with destiny in Turkey.
Guardiola’s men are also odds-on to complete the treble, which they can kick off this weekend by wrapping up the Premier League title against Chelsea.
‘We are one game away from winning the Premier League for three years in a row, and we have been in two Champions League finals and one semi-final,’ he said.
‘That is consistency. I always put the example of being Carabao Cup winners for four years in a row. That means the level of this team.
‘There is one incredible detail in this team that I’m so proud of – they are so humble. It doesn’t matter the competition, they take every game seriously because they are so humble.
Guardiola’s men are also odds-on to complete the treble now they are in the Istanbul final
‘I hate arrogance in sport, the moment that you believe you are something you are not. These guys have not done this for many years and today we got the reward they deserve.
‘A final against an Italian team, people will say we are favourites and that is the worst that can happen but we have time to prepare and now we focus on Chelsea because we have to try to close the Premier League as soon as possible because we have to prepare for United and Inter Milan.’
As for dethroned champions Madrid, manager Carlo Ancelotti had no arguments with City’s progression.
‘I think that tonight Manchester City deserved to win because they played better than us,’ the Italian said.
‘Last season was different. This season they deserve to reach the final and fight for the final. They were better than us as we were better than them last season.’
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