New Telegraph

Man City looks for rare Champions League repeat

History is not on Pep Guardiola’s side as he tries to lead Manchester City to back-to-back Champions League titles this season. Real Madrid is the only club to retain the trophy in the modern era by winning it three times in a row from 2016-18.

“We’re incredibly happy to defend this crown, but this competition doesn’t allow you mistakes,” Guardiola said ahead of City’s opening Group G game against Red Star Belgrade. “The competition gives us a new challenge, so (we’ll) at least try.”

Reigning champions, Manchester City will begin their title defence against Red Star Belgrade on SuperSport Premier League (DStv ch 203 and GOtv 66) at 8pm. At the same time, Spanish champions Barcelona will kick off their campaign at Estadio Olimpico Montjuic against Antwerp on SuperSport La Liga (DStv ch 204 and GOtv ch 62).

The European Cup was rebranded as the Champions League in 1992, and no team had successfully defended the trophy until a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Madrid in 2017. The Spanish giant went on to complete a three-peat the following year.

Madrid won the first five editions of the trophy, from 1956-60, when the competition was in its former guise as a straight knockout tournament. The European Cup was also only open to the champions of Europe’s leagues, as well as the current holder of the trophy.

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