Real Madrid close to Champions League history vs. Manchester City – Luka Modric

Luka Modric has said Real Madrid‘s Champions League record — winning the competition five times in the last nine years — could give them the edge in Wednesday’s semifinal second leg with Manchester City.

City are still looking for their first Champions League trophy, despite years of domestic success, while Madrid are the most successful club in the tournament’s history with 14 European Cups.

The teams drew 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu last week in the first leg of a tie which is a repeat of last season’s dramatic semifinal, which Madrid edged 6-5 on aggregate.

“We’ve played this kind of game, [Champions League] semifinals and finals, a lot of times,” Modric said in a pre-match news conference on Tuesday. “What I see in my teammates and [coach Carlo Ancelotti] is confidence and total faith in us, our character and our qualities.

Modric would have the chance to feature in his sixth final if Madrid overcome City.

“I remember a team talk that [former coach Zinedine Zidane] gave us, talking about a dynasty, and we’ve achieved it,” Modric said.

“It gives you an extra motivation, playing in this competition for Real Madrid. When you know you’re close to another final you want to give everything. It can motivate you in certain moments, to give more than you think you have to give. That’s important, that we’re close to doing something historic.”

Madrid have already eliminated Premier League sides Liverpool and Chelsea in this season’s Champions League knockout stage.

“We know the Champions League is a competition we like,” Modric said. “We feel comfortable in this competition and in these games, that’s why we’ve won so many… We feel comfortable and we believe in our quality and the history of the club.”

Ancelotti is the most decorated manager in Champions League history, having won the competition four times as a coach, as well as twice as a player.

“Courage and personality are a very important component in these games,” he said on Tuesday. “The pressure is very high. Sometimes you don’t have the personality to show your quality.

“What I want is a team that can read the game well. We’ll have moments of suffering and we have to hang on, to read those situations and know when the opponent is in difficulty.”

City dominated the early stages of the first leg in Spain before Vinicius Junior put Madrid ahead, and with the home side in the ascendency, Kevin De Bruyne levelled in the second half.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the best team in the world, you won’t win every game 100%,” Ancelotti said. “It’s the mental part — personality, character, mentality — in difficult moments. It isn’t just about quality of players.”

Ancelotti said he hadn’t meant to guarantee that defender Antonio Rudiger — who performed well against City’s Erling Haaland last week — would start Wednesday’s game, blaming “a misunderstanding” in an earlier news conference.

“I’m lucky to have all the players available,” Ancelotti said. “[Eduardo] Camavinga, [Ferland] Mendy, everyone. That makes it more difficult to pick the team. If we win I get it right, if we lose I get it wrong.”