Jude Bellinghams Real Madrid impact massive Guardiola

Real Madrid are a different side compared to last season thanks to midfielder Jude Bellingham‘s “obvious” impact, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said after his side were drawn to face the LaLiga club in the Champions League quarterfinals on Friday.

Holders City beat the 14-time Champions League winners in the semifinals of the competition last season, drawing 1-1 away at the Bernabéu and securing a thumping 4-0 win at the Etihad in the second leg.

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Bellingham, who joined Real from Borussia Dortmund in July for a fee of around €103 million ($112.1m), has scored 20 goals and set up nine for the Spanish side across all competitions this season.

Asked about the midfielder’s exploits, Guardiola told reporters on Friday: “[Bellingham’s] impact has been massive. It’s a different team from last season. His influence is obvious, and we have to try to discover what he does to control it.

“Facing Real Madrid is always a tough challenge, nobody can deny it. They are an exceptional club, and in this competition they can control many things with the experience they have in the past.

“Like last season there will be moments for them and moments for us. The longer we can keep our moments, we’ll be closer. We’ll try to do a good performance in Madrid and then here, with our people, do it again.”

The first legs of the Champions League’s quarterfinals will be played from April 9-10 and second legs on April 16-17.

City play Newcastle United in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday and face Arsenal in the Premier League after the international break.