Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will not recover from his knee injury in time to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
Aguero sustained meniscus damage during last month’s 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley and was operated on by Guardiola’s preferred surgeon, Dr Ramon Cugat.
A four-to-six-week recovery period appeared to place Aguero in contention for the August 7 second leg with Madrid, which UEFA this week announced was clear to take place behind closed doors at the Etihad Stadium.
City hold a 2-1 advantage over the 13-time European champions but, after Friday’s draw paired the winner of their last-16 tie against Lyon or Juventus, they will have to try and seal a place at the final stages in Lisbon without their all-time record goalscorer.
“I told you many times no. [Defintely] no,” Guardiola told a news conference when asked about Aguero’s prospects.
Friday’s draw mapped out City’s potential route to glory, with prospective semi-final opponents coming from a quarter-final between Napoli or Barcelona and Chelsea or Bayern Munich.
Nevertheless, Guardiola insists City must not look past an in-form Madrid who appear set to wrest LaLiga from his beloved Barca’s grasp.
“We play against Real Madrid,” he said. “If we think about the next step the kings of this competition, Real Madrid, will put us out.
“There is not one person who knows Real Madrid better than me, their potential and history, and we have to play this game.
“I saw the draw maybe two or three hours after it was made. I’ve got Brighton [in the Premier League on Saturday] and continue to prepare for Arsenal [in the semi-finals of the FA Cup].
“After that, we have two games and a potential [FA Cup] final to prepare for Real Madrid. That’s all I have in my mind.”
City’s bid for an elusive Champions League crown might be thrown into sharper focus on Monday if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) uphold their two-season ban from UEFA competitions for violating Financial Fair Play regulations.
Guardiola reiterated his belief that City will be cleared by CAS and, irrespective of the verdict, he does not feel events in a Swiss court room will fuel his players.
“The intention is every season to play in the Champions League as best as possible, it’s not about Monday,” he said.
“On Monday, I’m so confident because I know and hear the arguments of the club. Next season we will be there and after I will give my opinion and the club will give a statement.”
City head to Brighton and Hove Albion looking to snap a run of three successive away defeats in the Premier League.
Guardiola could once again call upon Benjamin Mendy after revealing the left-back sat out matches against Southampton and Newcastle United over the past week due to “muscular issues”.
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