Global Sports : Pique: City Among The World’s Best

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says he thinks Manchester City are one of the top teams in the world and potential future Champions League winners.
However, Pique thinks the absence of influential City midfielder Yaya Toure could be a factor in Tuesday night’s Etihad Stadium clash.
Barca beat City 4-1 on aggregate in the last-16 stage of the Champions League last season and the sides have been drawn to face each other once again this term.
And, speaking ahead of the first leg, former Manchester United man Pique admitted that he has been impressed by what he has seen from City.
“In the Premier League they are showing they are one of the best teams in the world,” he said.
“I hope in the next years they will be fighting for this competition – but not this year!”
City will be without suspended Ivory Coast international Toure for Tuesday’s match and Pique added: “He is a very, very important player for them.
“When he plays and when he doesn’t, there is a difference.”
Barcelona lost 1-0 at home to Malaga at the weekend but Pique played down suggestions that there was tension between the players and boss Luis Enrique.
“There are no problems between ourselves and the manager,” he said.
“We get on fine, the relationship is good.
“We are just off the bounce of 11 wins. Good results are the only way to show people the team is just like it was three days ago.
“We are playing well, on the right lines. We are playing good football but you can always have the odd slip-up.
“In football, playing against a big team three days after the last defeat is fantastic, you don’t have time to reflect.
“We are still considered to be one of the top five teams in the world.
“I don’t think there is anything more at stake other than playing for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but it is one of the most important games of the last few weeks.”
Barcelona won 2-0 in the first leg at the Etihad last term but Barca boss Enrique thinks his team may find it tougher this season.
“We are hoping to win the trophy so we have to go through games like this,” he said. “I don’t think there is a favourite in this game.
“I don’t know if there is a bigger gap or if the gap has closed. City have strengthened in the summer, we have too.
“We must not think about what happened last season but focus on putting on a good performance.
“The match will depend on where the spaces are, if we can have the ball. The centre of the pitch will be key.”

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