Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane believes Manchester City’s ban from the Champions League will provide the Blues with extra motivation for the round-of-16 clash between the two sides later this month.
UEFA announced on Friday evening that City had been banned from their club competitions for the next two seasons after being to found to have “seriously breached” their club licensing and financial fair play regulations.
City described the ruling as “disappointing, but not surprising” and confirmed they will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
If the ban is upheld and City finish in the top four this season, the team that finishes fifth in the Premier League will qualify for next season’s Champions League group phase.
It has been confirmed that City will still be allowed to participate in this year’s competition with the first leg of their tie against Real Madrid taking place at the Bernabeu on February 26.
“For what has just happened, their motivation will be immense,” Zidane said prior to Madrid’s La Liga game against Celta Vigo.
“I’m not going to go into what happened, what is going to happen…
“It’s a team anyway, who will be a difficult opponent, knowing also how they have been doing in the Premier League. So they will have extra motivation.
“It’s a rival who are going to be very, very difficult, it’s a very big team.”
City could be without Raheem Sterling for the first leg of the contest after the England international suffered a hamstring injury during the recent defeat by Tottenham.
The second leg takes place at the Etihad Stadium on March 17.