By Rik Sharma
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola said bitter rivals Real Madrid were a “spectacular” side after they won a record 13th European title in Kiev on Saturday.
Manchester City manager Guardiola, whose side were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by beaten finalists Liverpool, praised Zinedine Zidane’s team.
The Catalan coach was at the helm of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, one of the most fierce periods in the rivalry between Spain’s two biggest sides.
“When a team wins three Champions Leagues in a row, four in five years, it means they are a spectacular side,” Guardiola told reporters Wednesday at an event held by the Johan Cruyff foundation in Barcelona.
“They control knock-out games very well and I can only take my hat off to them.
“To win three consecutive Champions Leagues shows the quality of the team, the coach and the club. And everyone else must now try to stop them winning the fourth.”
Real Madrid playmaker Isco has been linked with a move to Manchester City but Guardiola said he would not join. “No,” said the coach when asked if he would try to sign the Spaniard.
(Editing by Toby Chopra)