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Iniesta: Pep can win Champions League with City

A mouth-watering prospect for the nation’s media, it’s no surprise that Barcelona v City dominates the back pages this morning.

Combining world-class talent with the intriguing sub-plot of Pep Guardiola’s return to his former club, the press have penned plenty of stories concerning this evening’s clash in Catalonia.

A man steeped in the traditions of the region’s most famous club is where we start our round-up, as Andres Iniesta has backed his old boss to bring Champions League success to East Manchester.

It’s only a matter of time according to the decorated midfielder, who is quoted in the Mirror as saying: “I’m sure City can go and win the Champions League under Pep — I just hope it’s not this season.

“They will still be adapting to Pep’s style of play and also he’s only had one window to bring in his own players. They will continue to get stronger under Pep and challenge in both England and Europe.”

John Stones will be doing his utmost to ensure the Spaniard’s prophecy comes to fruition and the defender has spoken of his excitement at testing himself against the La Liga giants.

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Admitting he was an avid watcher of Lionel Messi and co as a youngster, Sport360 report Stones has dismissed any notion of fear.

In a wide-ranging piece, the 22-year-old said:  “It doesn’t scare me. You have to play against the best to see how you can deal with it and it always brings the best out in you as well.

“For me, Messi is the best player in the world, easily. He’s one of a kind. We as footballers appreciate it even more when you come up against him and see what he can really do.

“I’ll be looking forward to that challenge. But it’s not just him, it’s everyone in that side we have to keep close tabs on.”

As is to be expected before such a tie, a number of pundits have offered their opinion and Martin Keown believes City's stars more than match up to the opposition.

In his Daily Mail column, the former Arsenal defender writes: “Barcelona may have three of the world’s best players in Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, but with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, Manchester City aren’t far behind.

“From what I saw against Everton on Saturday, Pep Guardiola could do special things with this team.”

It’s a sentiment one-time City custodian David James agrees with. In particular, the Blues’ prowess in the final third has the ex-England international believing his old club could snatch all three points.

James told the Express’ Bruce Archer: “If he [Guardiola] can get his team playing to the maximum, the likes of Sterling, Aguero, De Bruyne, then they beat anyone, and when you’ve got a side who can beat anyone, why not going to the Camp Nou and say well we can beat you as well.”

Plenty to discuss there then and there’s more on the way on mancity.com right through until kick off. Stay tuned!