The Brazil forward was instrumental in all four goals as City beat the Spanish giants 4-2 on aggregate, scoring one and winning one in the 2-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Friday.
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“I think Gabriel was the man for those two games,” Guardiola said.
“He scored in Madrid, he caused the penalty and today passed and scored. He was so decisive for us. He helped the team for the way we fought and suffered in the bad times. ”
The victory over 13-time Real Madrid winners means City will progress to the mini-tournament in Portugal next week.
They will face Lyon in the quarter-finals after the Ligue 1 side beat Juventus on away goals, but Guardiola rejected the suggestion his side were now favorites to lift the Champions League for the first time.
“They will all think the same thing, why are we more special or different from others? ” he said.
“I don’t see a reason why. To win the Champions League, you have to beat a lot of teams that have the quality of Real Madrid.
“There is still Bayern Munich if they finish the job against Chelsea. Barcelona, Naples. We have Atletico, two-time finalists. They have twice beaten what is for me now the best team in the world at Liverpool. There are a lot of amazing teams. ”
City are expected to beat Lyon when they meet in Lisbon, but Guardiola was quick to remind everyone that he only managed to take one point in two group stage matches last season.
“We played against Lyon last season and we couldn’t beat them,” he said. ” It’s reality. I know the physicality and the quality of the manager. “