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Manchester City facing Kyle Walker fitness dilemma ahead of Real Madrid Champions League clash



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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are reportedly sweating on the fitness of full-back Kyle Walker ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Real Madrid in the Champions League.

Manchester City face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday evening in the first-leg clash of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie, with the winners awaiting either Arsenal or Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the competition.

Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti are preparing to meet in the competition for a third successive season, with Manchester City having beaten the La Liga heavyweights in the semi-finals last year.

Manchester City have faced Real Madrid on six previous occasions under Guardiola, with full-back Kyle Walker having featured in five of the matches against the Spanish side.

The 33-year-old played a crucial role in last season’s semi-final triumph but is a doubt for the first-leg clash in midweek, after the full-back suffered a hamstring injury during international duty with England last month.

Walker, who was captaining the Three Lions, was forced off midway through the first-half of England’s 0-1 loss to Brazil at Wembley Stadium, with fellow City defender John Stones also injured during England duty.

Guardiola suggested that Tuesday’s quarter-final clash in Madrid would come too soon for Walker, however ESPN report that Manchester City are ready to try and allow the defender time to prove his fitness ahead of next week’s showdown fixture.

A final decision will be made in consultation with Walker and club medical staff, but the right-back will be given “as much time as possible” to try and be available for the first-leg clash.

Guardiola considers Walker “key” to Manchester City’s plan, although is “likely” to start Rico Lewis against Real Madrid should the 33-year-old be unavailable, according to ESPN.

The defender has missed Manchester City’s last two Premier League games against both Arsenal and Aston Villa, with the Englishman also set to miss Saturday’s visit to Selhurst Park.

Guardiola’s side face Crystal Palace this weekend, where a victory would take the Sky Blues ahead of Arsenal and level on points with league leaders Liverpool.