Man City team news: De Bruyne starts on the bench for Real Madrid test

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Man City are a few more steps away from potentially retaining their Champions League title, and Pep Guardiola has decided to play it safe in Madrid by leaving Kevin De Bruyne on the bench.

The Belgian has often been a destroyer of dreams against many clubs, and the temptation to have him in the XI from the start will surely have been there, but his absence hasn’t weakened the visitors and, in fact, gives them an incredible option to come on later in the game as tiredness creeps in.

De Bruyne on the bench for Man City

It’s one of the biggest games of keeper, Stefan Ortega’s career, with Ederson still not fit to resume his duties between the posts.

A back four of Manuel Akanji, John Stones, Ruben Dias and Josko Gvardiol will be incredibly difficult to break down, given that there’s a mixture of pace, power and aerial ability between the quartet.

Rodri will anchor the midfield alongside Mateo Kovacic and Bernardo Silva. The Spaniard has done a great job to this point of protecting his back four, and against Los Blancos, as spaces begin to open up, he can be the difference maker.

Up front, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are tasked with supplying the bullets to Erling Haaland, who’ll surely want to fire the reigning Premier League champions into a healthy first-leg lead.

He’ll have his work cut out against Antonio Rudiger, however.

Andriy Lunin continues in goal for the hosts, whilst Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy and Aurelien Tchouameni will protect him.

Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga bring youth and experience to the midfield, whilst Jude Bellingham will relish playing against England’s best alongside Vini Jr. and Rodrygo.

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