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Zidane on Real Madrid-Man City Champions League clash: Guardiola 'best manager in world'

Sid Lowe believes Man City's manager will be the center of attention in his team's UCL clash with Real Madrid.
Craig Burley and Shaka Hislop break down what Real Madrid did to stifle Barcelona at the Camp Nou.
The FC crew don't see eye to eye when it comes to the weight of expectations on Real Madrid and Man City.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has called Pep Guardiola "the best coach in the world" as he prepares to face his Manchester City in the Champions League in February.

Earlier this week Guardiola had said he "dreamed as a player to play with" Zidane as he reacted to the round of 16 draw.

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The pair have never managed opposing teams in a competitive game during their coaching careers, which have seen them win five Champions League trophies between them.

"I played against him as a player" Zidane said, speaking in a news conference on Saturday ahead of Real Madrid's La Liga game with Athletic Bilbao. "I respect him a lot, as a player and a coach.

"I think he's the best coach in the world. He's shown it throughout his career."

Madrid will host City in the first leg at the Bernabeu on Feb. 26, before the return fixture at the Etihad Stadium on March 17.

Zidane also ruled out a formal complaint over the failure to award Madrid two penalties for challenges on defender Raphael Varane in their 0-0 draw with Barcelona in Wednesday's Clasico at Camp Nou.

The club had criticised the decisions on its website and on social media, where they wrote: "Neither the referee nor the VAR saw the two penalties on Varane."

"For us, the past is the past" Zidane said. "VAR is important.

"We know it's a plus for football. It can improve, of course. We have to be in favour of that. Otherwise, everyone can make mistakes."

Madrid host Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Sunday in their last game of 2019, looking to keep pace with Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table.

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