Guardiola Readies Manchester City for Brighton Challenge; Backs Haaland for Ballon d'Or
|Pep Guardiola of Manchester City looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between RB Leipzig and Manchester City at Red Bull Arena on October 4, 2023 in Leipzig, Germany.(Image-Getty)
Manchester City's manager, Pep Guardiola, expressed his team's readiness for a challenging match against Brighton & Hove Albion this weekend, highlighting the return of fit players after the international break. Guardiola, however, noted that Kevin De Bruyne is still in the recovery phase following hamstring surgery.
Having encountered consecutive league losses before the break, City is striving to regain momentum and prevent a potential third consecutive defeat, a situation Guardiola has faced only once before in his managerial career in 2015 with Bayern Munich.
Praising Brighton's Italian manager, Roberto De Zerbi, Guardiola commended his ability to foster a dynamic playing style irrespective of the team's standing. He acknowledged the progress Brighton has made under De Zerbi's guidance and emphasized that the upcoming match against them would be one of the season's toughest tests.
In a separate statement, Guardiola voiced his endorsement for City's prolific striker, Erling Haaland, as the deserving recipient of the 2023 Ballon d'Or award. Recognizing Haaland's remarkable contribution to City's treble-winning season, Guardiola emphasized the player's exceptional goal-scoring prowess.
While acknowledging Haaland's potential as a frontrunner for the prestigious award, Guardiola also emphasized the enduring influence of Lionel Messi, who led Argentina to victory at the 2022 World Cup. Guardiola suggested that the Ballon d'Or should have two categories, one exclusively for Messi due to his exceptional talent and another for the rest of the contenders. Despite this distinction, Guardiola underscored that both Messi and Haaland are highly deserving candidates for the accolade.
Haaland, aged 23, has already demonstrated his scoring prowess this season, netting eight goals in 12 games for Manchester City.