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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Vincent Kompany: Manchester City captain says winning Uefa Champions League title would be 'greatest achievement' of career

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says winning the Uefa Champions League would represent the greatest achievement of his career as he waits to discover his side's quarter-final opponents on Friday.

The Belgian, in his 10th season at the Etihad Stadium, has thus far helped the club capture every major domestic trophy on offer in England, including twice lifting the Premier League title. Kompany looks well placed for a third top-flight crown, with City 16 points clear at the summit with eight matches remaining.

In fact, they can clinch the title with six games to spare - at home to rivals Manchester United on April 7.

In contrast, the Champions League has until now eluded Kompany, something he is seeking to put right this campaign. City are considered one of the favourites to clinch club football’s most coveted prize for the first time in May after they booked their place in the last eight by defeating Swiss side Basel 5-2 on aggregate.

Vincent Kompany trains with his Manchester City teammates in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Vincent Kompany trains with his Manchester City teammates in Abu Dhabi on Thursday. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The draw takes place at Uefa’s headquarters in Nyon on Friday afternoon, and includes defending champions Real Madrid, five-time winners Barcelona and Juventus, last year’s runners-up.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi on Thursday as City enjoy a five-day, warm-weather training camp, Company highlighted what winning the Champions League would mean to him. Yet the experienced centre-back added is under no illusion as to the difficulty of the road ahead.

“For me personally, it’d be the greatest achievement of my career,” Kompany said. “But it’s such a difficult competition to play. Because you are literally now with eight teams who each have a right to claim that they want to win this trophy. Every game now is just a 50-50 chance virtually.

“I always believe that luck and faith will be on my side more than the other side. But I just hope everyone will believe in it as much as I do and then we have a chance.”

The City players will watch the draw together in Abu Dhabi knowing they sit only four matches away from the final at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium on May 26.

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Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has contested the showpiece before, scoring the equaliser in 2013 when his Borussia Dortmund side lost 2-1 to fellow Germans Bayern Munich. Arjen Robben notched the winner in the final minute at Wembley.

Gundogan, 27, has become an increasingly influential player at City this season after overcoming an injury-plagued debut campaign at the club. Winning the Champions League would presumably be extra special for the German international, although he is keen to stress City constitute only one of eight teams talented enough to win the competition.

Given the capabilities of any potential opponent at this juncture, Gundogan said he does not favour meeting anyone in particular in the quarter-final.

“At the end, you need to play against the best to win this trophy,” he said. “So to be honest, it doesn’t matter if it’s now. OK, if we’re maybe a little bit lucky, but at this stage it’s difficult to say about any opponent that you feel lucky playing against.

“In the end you need to compete against the best and to come to the final. I was lucky to play the final in 2013 with Dortmund and unfortunately we lost, so obviously I can’t wait to come back into the final and win it this time. This is the main target.”

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