Kevin De Bruyne


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Manchester City may be without Erling Haaland for their FA Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea at Wembley.

The Norwegian striker was substituted before City played extra time against Real Madrid in the Champions League, with manager Pep Guardiola subsequently revealing that Haaland had asked to come off.

The 23-year-old would be expected to lead the line for City at Wembley, but Guardiola revealed in his pre-match press conference that his participation is not guaranteed.

“We will see,” he remarked when asked if Haaland is okay to play. “It was a tough game, a lot of action, high intensity for both sides. Erling felt something, a muscular issue. That’s why he told me he could not continue.

“The [doctor] said he had a little bit of niggles, a little problem, we will see how his evolution is in the next hours.”

Kevin De BruyneKevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne was also taken off in midweek but is expected to play / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Guardiola also talked about the fitness of star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who like Haaland asked to be withdrawn against Real Madrid.

The Spaniard said of the 32-year-old: “Kevin felt exhausted, so tired, after five months out injured [the Belgian was sidelined after the first game of the season], so that’s normal. It’s normal with the amount of games we are playing this season…They are human beings. They are not a machine. We are used to it.”

City are the overwhelming favourites to beat Chelsea and reach what would be Guardiola’s third FA Cup final, and that’s not likely to change if Julian Alvarez is called upon to replace Haaland in the starting lineup.

The reigning Premier League champions beat neighbourhood rivals Manchester United 2-1 in an entertaining final last year, aided by two goals from former captain Ilkay Gundogan, while City’s only other trip to the final under Guardiola resulted in a 6-0 spanking of Watford in 2019 – a game De Bruyne scored in.

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