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Coronavirus: Break means no favourite when Real Madrid travel to Man City – Capello

By Rob Lancaster

London, March 21: Manchester City may hold a 2-1 advantage but Fabio Capello believes there will be no favourite when Real Madrid eventually travel to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg of their Champions League tie.

City have the upper hand in the last-16 clash after their impressive come-from-behind victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in February.

The two clubs were meant to meet again in the return fixture in Manchester on March 17, yet the coronavirus outbreak has led to a suspension of the European season.

UEFA announced earlier this month it remains committed to completing the calendar by the end of June, though only if the "situation should improve" on the continent.

In an interview with AS, former Madrid boss Capello claimed the delay may actually aid his old club, even though they have a deficit to overcome on their travels.

"For me, it changes everything," Capello said. "With this break there is no favourite.

"We do not know, if it is played, how the teams will be at that point. There are no favourites, no one knows."

Vinicius Junior set up Isco to open the scoring for Madrid in the previous meeting with City, the former one of a number younger players given opportunities this season under Zinedine Zidane.

Rodrygo has also contributed in Europe during the campaign, including the teenager scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 home win over Galatasary in the group stage.

Capello hopes Madrid will manage the two Brazilians – as well as their other rising stars – carefully, something he attempted to do during his second spell in charge of the LaLiga giants.

"We're waiting for them to explode," the Italian said of the current crop coming through.

"In my second spell at Madrid, we signed Marcelo, [Fernando] Gago and [Gonzalo] Higuain. In December, the president came to me and said, 'Why don't you put them on, Fabio?'.

"'Because they are kids', I told him, 'and you have to wait a while. They are the future, they can make history later'.

"The only one of them who did little was Gago, while the other two did their part. They needed experience and character.

"You have to sign young people and then use them little by little, taking care of them. You cannot give them the responsibility now."

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Story first published: Saturday, March 21, 2020, 22:30 [IST]
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