In pictures: Man City v RB Leipzig
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Owen Hargreaves has claimed that RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol will go on to become the best centre-back in the world despite the Croatian being powerless to stop Manchester City’s Champions League demolition job. The Premier League champions put seven goals past their Bundesliga opponents with Erling Haaland scoring five.
City ran riot at the Eithad as Pep Guardiola’s men stormed into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-0 win over RB Leipzig. Haaland stole the headlines with a five-goal haul with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin de Bruyne netting the others.
There were very few positives for the away team to take in what was a humbling night in Manchester and the focus will now switch to trying to close the gap to Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga.
However, Hargreaves was keen to single Gvardiol out for praise despite the Croatian being in direct opposition with the rampant Haaland all evening. The former Manchester United midfielder suggested the 21-year-old would still go on to become the best centre-back in the world with the lessons learned at the Eithad making him a better player in the long term.
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Speaking on BT Sport commentary, Hargreaves said: “I think the boys said it, three centre backs in the studio before, all top players. He [Gvardiol], I think, is an absolute top one. I think he’ll be the best centre-back in the world one day. He’s learned a lot today, and probably wouldn’t mind playing in a team like this rather than against them.”
The Croatian international could not have had a much more difficult task than having to deal with Haaland with the big Norwegian back on top form. The 22-year-old was utterly clinical in the box gobbling up even the slightest opportunities that came his way.
Gvardiol is set to be at the centre of a transfer battle this summer with a host of clubs set to try and make him the cornerstone of their defence for years to come.
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Chelsea have been most heavily linked with his services but he will not come cheap having signed a new long-term contract with Leipzig last year. He has been tipped to cost upwards of £100million however this may not be enough to put off potential suitors.
It remains to be seen whether or not Gvardiol will go on to achieve his potential but the Croatian will hope to take real lessons from Tuesday’s humbling at the hands of an unstoppable Haaland.
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