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Sterling fit for Real Madrid clash, confirms Guardiola in huge Man City boost ahead of Champions League tie

22:23 EAT 25/02/2020
Raheem Sterling Manchester City 2019-20
The England forward had been out of action with a hamstring injury since the start of February, but is set to feature at Santiago Bernabeu

Raheem Sterling is back fit for Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has confirmed, meaning he could feature in the Champions League against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The news comes as a huge boost for City ahead of their last-16 first leg at Santiago Bernabeu, with Sterling having missed their last two matches.

He has been out of action since picking up a hamstring injury in the 2-0 Premier League defeat to Tottenham at the beginning of the month.

“Yeah, Raheem is fit,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference. "His natural physical condition, his regeneration is amazing.

“He said to us, ‘I could have played the West Ham game, I could have played against Leicester’.

“The doctor said to be careful because of the timing. With this injury it’s always three weeks, one month and after 15 days he wanted to play.

“That’s a good sign. He’s fit, he’s ready.”

One player who will not feature in the Spanish capital is Madrid winger Eden Hazard, who could be out for the rest of the season after fracturing his ankle.

Hazard picked up the injury in Madrid’s shock 1-0 defeat to Levante, which saw them cede advantage to Barcelona in the Spanish title race on Sunday.

“It’s very bad he’s not here,” Guardiola said of Hazard. “I had the honour of watching and suffering him in England!

“To see him close you think, ‘What a player’. I wish he was here. He is a magnificent player.”

With City currently facing a two-year ban from the Champions League, extra significance has been heaped on the Madrid tie as Guardiola looks to deliver the trophy for the first time at the club.

However, he maintains he still trusts the club hierarchy, who are set to appeal the ban.

“We were under suspicion for a long time. We have the right to appeal,” Guardiola added.

“I trust the people in my club. They showed me the arguments and the proof.

“We are going to appeal and we are optimistic. We deserve to be in the Champions League.

“If it doesn’t happen, we have to accept it with the people who want to stay. I trust the club. We appeal as a club and wait to see what will happen.”