It proved to be a wise prediction, as City hammered the defending champions in a remarkably one-sided second leg of the semi-final tie, with the hosts winning 4-0 at the Etihad to set up a clash in Istanbul with Inter Milan next month.
Bernardo Silva scored twice before half-time to put City in complete control, and while a Real comeback did not ever appear to be on the cards, an own goal from Eder Militao and a late goal from Julian Alvarez ensured there were no nerves in the closing stages.
On that first-half display from City, in which Real struggled to get out of their own half, Michael Owen labelled it “as good as it gets”, suggesting it was the best 45 minutes he has ever seen as Guardiola’s side tore the visitors apart.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 17, 2023
The City boss was likely not surprised though with what he saw, as Guardiola walked off the pitch after the match shouting “I told you” at Ferdinand, who shared a conversation the pair had in the hours ahead of kick-off.
“He text me, Pep Guardiola text me before the game,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “He said: ‘Believe me, we beat them two years ago. We’ll beat them again. Believe.’
“The conviction that he had, the confidence. That was two or three hours before the game. He’s sending me a text like that. That is pure confidence in the detail he has gone through leading up to this game, and the confidence he has in those players.”