May 09, 2015 10:00:46 UK
Manchester City will have to find their own Lionel Messi to have any hope of reaching the standards set by Barcelona, according to manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The Catalan capital giants have not reached the final of the Champions League since 2011 but secured a 3-0 semi-final first-leg advantage against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
“First we need to find another Messi. He makes the difference, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Real Madrid.”
They have won Europe’s premier club competition three times since the start of this millennium and have eliminated City from the Champions League in the past two seasons.
The north-west giants have been unable to land a major blow on the European stage but Pellegrini said the reason was obvious.
“First we need to find another Messi,” the Chilean said.
“He makes the difference, like [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Real Madrid.”
City are involved in a tight race to finish runners-up to champions Chelsea in the Premier League and will end the season trophyless. They were knocked out of Europe at the last-16 stage this season by Barca but Pellegrini said the club’s efforts to make a lasting impression in the Champions League will take time.
“The project at this club is to improve every year, to grow every year as a club, in all senses, in every department, young players, the first team,” the 61-year-old added.
“Maybe a lot of people are nervous because you don’t do it in three, four, five years. All these projects need a long time and every year you must show that you are growing and improving.”
Barcelona are currently priced 1.57 in the Champions League outright winner betting and Real Madrid are quoted in the same market at 4.00.
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