Pep Guardiola said "sorry" to Real Madrid stalwart Cristiano Ronaldo after his Bayern Munich side knocked out the Champions League semi-final opponents he had hoped for.
The Portuguese star admitted that he wanted to see Benfica in the semi-final alongside the La Liga outfit as it would give him the chance to return to his homeland.
When asked after Real Madrid's match against Wolfsburg who he would rather face, Ronaldo replied: “I would prefer Benfica in Portugal.”
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Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, it would be a tough task for Benfica to overturn the German giants, but having watched Ronaldo single-handedly drag Real Madrid back from the jaws of defeat against Wolfsburg, anything seemed possible.
And, indeed, when Benfica took a 1-0 lead on the night through Jimenez Rodriguez, a dream date in the final four looked very possible. However, goals from Arturo Vidal and Thomas Muller eventually earned Bayern Munich a 2-2 draw on the night and a 3-2 victory on aggregate.
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Sorry for Ronaldo
Guardiola was asked about Ronaldo's comments in his post-match press conference and did not hesitate to issue an apology to the 31-year-old.
"I know that Ronaldo wanted Benfica in the semis," said Guardiola. "I'm sorry for him."
Chasing the treble
In what will be Guardiola's final season at the Allianz Arena, his Bavarian side are chasing a treble, last achieved when Jupp Heynckes was in charge in 2013. But Bayern Munich have made five semi-finals in a row, yet that is their only triumph in that time.
Guardiola says the character shown against Benfica was tremendous and says people still do not realise just how difficult the Champions League is.
"People don't know how difficult the Champions League is," continued the former Barcelona coach.
"We played with a big personality. We remained composed and cool in the head even after falling a goal behind. We played very well.
"Every team at this stage is very, very good. But reaching the semi-finals for a fifth time in a row is a big thing."
Man City match-up
With Manchester City also in the draw, fans are already excited by the prospect of Guardiola attempting to knock out the team he will join in the summer.
When Guardiola arrived at Bayern Munich, he had to deal with the legacy of Heynckes and he will surely be desperate to make sure he does not have to do the same thing at the Etihad.
A Champions League triumph would certainly instill Manuel Pellegrini into club folklore and leave Guardiola with a massive legacy to follow.
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