Pep Guardiola reveals which Chelsea player could be key in Manchester City showdown

The Man City boss gave his opinion of the Chelsea forward back in 2018 ahead of a much-anticipated meeting between the sides at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has previously hailed Romelu Lukaku as “world class” ahead of Chelsea’s clash with the reigning Premier League champions this weekend.

The Belgian became Chelsea’s record signing earlier this summer as he joined in a £97.5million deal from Inter Milan and has enjoyed an impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge.

Lukaku has scored four goals in his first six appearances in all competitions, continuing the hot form he displayed at the San Siro as he helped Inter to the Serie A title last season.

However, one man who was a fan of the Belgium international even before his return to west London is City boss Guardiola.

Following a 3-2 win for Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in 2018 – a game in which Lukaku failed to score but still had a huge impact – the Spaniard was full of praise for the frontman.

He said: “He’s 24 and has 100 goals in the Premier League. So that’s not bad, first of all. Second, in the long balls we know the duels. He’s fast and strong.

I saw him when he played for Everton with my friend Ronald Koeman – he punished us here in the Etihad Stadium and he punished us in Goodison Park.

“He’s fast, going to the channels, he helps to keep the ball and helps to make the movement for the other guys. He’s top. He’s a world-class player.”

Of course, Guardiola will therefore be even more wary as he prepares his side to take on

City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has also previously expressed his admiration of Lukaku, having been a teammate of his both during his spell as a Chelsea player and on the international stage with Belgium.

Speaking just after the striker’s move to Manchester United was confirmed, the midfielder said: “People give Rom a lot of stick and he is a victim on social media, but Lukaku is a striker who will score 20 to 25 goals for Man United – and any other club.

“His goal ratio is insane. He ­belongs to the best strikers in the world.”

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