Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says he is ready to shake off his injury problems and face Real Madrid and ‘all-time great’ Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kompany, who was speaking exclusively to BT Sport, has suffered throughout the campaign with injuries but is expected to be in the City XI for the Champions League semi-final against Los Blancos, a prospect he confirms he is relishing.
“The only thing I can say is that there's nothing that I look more forward to then playing against one of the all-time greats. I hope it's going to happen not just [on Tuesday] but many more times in the future – that's what I'm playing football for,” the Belgium international said.
“I love every moment of it – I've seen Ronaldo evolve from the time he was playing at Manchester United to what he has become today – and as much as I have so much respect for what he's achieved, it's something that I would love to measure myself against.
“The more games you play against these kind of players the more chance you have to come on top of it. City need to be at this level more often.
“With Ronaldo it's not so much about his strength, it’s more about his speed. He does everything a step faster than the other strikers so even though you know where he is going he might just take a touch which is so quick, which puts you in position to shoot so well and so quickly again and you might not get there in time.
“That's the thing with Ronaldo – danger at any time and any moment that he has the ball that speed in everything he does.”
Kompany added, however that City can’t just be focused on the Portugal captain, but have to take into account the other weapons in Zinedine Zidane’s arsenal.
“Every single area on the pitch is important – you'll mention names and say he will have to have a good game against this guy. That's literally what it is,” he stressed.
“As much as we need to play well against Ronaldo, [Karim] Benzema and [Gareth] Bale at the back, we will need our midfielders to play well against [Luka] Modric, [Toni] Kroos and whoever else plays, that's how it is now.”
Kompany also noted that he has faced challenges of a different kind at times this season but doesn’t want anyone to use his long lays-off as an excuse if he doesn’t perform.
“As much as it is a challenge to play against Ronaldo and Benzema and Bale, I take it as a challenge to come back and always bring something new to the table, something different to my game and come back stronger,” the City skipper continued.
“There's a lot of focus on how many injuries I've had but any top pro at this level will know that the focus should be on how many times I come back at the level that’s very difficult for some players to achieve even once.
“I just come back and keep doing my job. I don’t complain about it and don’t feel sorry for myself. I’ve only played one game before this big game against Madrid. I don’t expect anyone to make any excuses for me, to feel sorry for me, I just want to fit in and play my part.”
BT Sport is your home of unmissable live football. Watch the full interview with Vincent Kompany, followed by the UEFA Champions League semi-final Manchester City v Real Madrid exclusively live on BT Sport Europe from 7pm.