Manchester City's main aim as a club is to win their first Champions League and truly establish themselves into the fore of Europe's most elite clubs. Pep Guardiola and the players would surely be even more determined to win the coveted trophy this season after a terrible title defense in which they are already 22 points behind leaders Liverpool. Moreover, the club has been recently given a two-season ban from the competition starting next season and that would probably leave the club to go all out for the Champions League trophy this term. But in City's path are standing a resurgent Real Madrid side (most successful Champions League club) and they must defeat them to book a quarter-final berth.
City would surely need to be on top of their game if they are to get past the 13-time champions and some city players could make or break the European dream of the reigning English champions. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of City's key players if they are to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League this season.
#3 Leroy Sané
With Raheem Sterling potentially out of the first leg with a hamstring injury, Leroy Sané's return couldn't have come at a better time. Sané has been instrumental in City's success throughout the last two seasons.
The Cityzens have dearly felt his absence throughout a disappointing campaign and he could be key to the Cityzens chances of progressing further in the Champions League this season.
His pace and trickery would probably cause all sorts of problems for Dani Carvajal at the left flank. The German has excellent dribbling ability and an ability to turn the match on its head at any moment in time. An outstanding Leroy Sané performance could be all that City needs to get past Real Madrid.
#2 Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne has established himself as arguably the best midfielder in world football. The Belgian is somewhat of a magician and is one of those players who can just walk into any team in the world and make it better.
De Bruyne has it all in his armory whether it be an incisive through-ball, a deadly cross into the box or jaw-dropping stunners to rattle the net from range. He is one of the most complete footballers in world football and ability-wise, he is second to none.
If De Bruyne hits top form against Los Blancos, then Zinedine Zidane and his side could very well find themselves in real trouble. But on the flip side, City pretty obviously needs the Belgian to be that good against Madrid to progress any further.
#1 Aymeric Laporte
Ever since his arrival in Manchester, the Frenchman has stood out to be that a calm and composed presence in City's backline. At this moment, Aymeric Laporte is arguably one of the best central defenders in world football.
Manchester City look an entirely different team without the French center-back in it. Laporte's absence has been one of the major reasons as to why the Cityzens title defense has fallen to pieces this season.
The Frenchman would be vital to City's defense over the two legs and he could be the Cityzen's most important player. Manchester City needs a fit and firing Laporte more than any other player because he is one of the very few players in an extremely deep squad for whom they do not have a quality back-up for.