Pep Guardiola: "Jude Bellingham must be lying about being 17!"
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has praised Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham after his scoring performance in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg, despite the Englishman's tender 17 years.
Guardiola's Man City side came out on top across the two legs of the quarter-final tie against Dortmund in a 4-2 aggregate win, after a 2-1 defeat for Die Schwarzgelben at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday night.
Bellingham had been denied a goal in the first leg last week after some controversy, but created history in the second leg as he curled home a stunning opening goal, which had given Dortmund hope of progressing.
Bellingham became the second-youngest scorer in Champions League knockout stage history, and the youngest Englishman ever to score in the competition at 17 years, nine months and 17 days.
After his outstanding performance, up against the likes of Kevin De Bruyne in the Premier League leaders' midfield, former Bayern Munich head coach Guardiola singled the Dortmund youngster out for praise.
"I can't believe it, maybe he's a liar!" Guardiola exclaimed when asked about Bellingham's performances over the two legs. "He's so good for 17 years old, he's a fantastic player. There was one moment when he didn't get the ball from central defenders, how he shouts and demands that ball to him at 17 means a lot.
Watch: Bellingham leading Dortmund's teenage dreamers
"I spoke with his manager, Edin [Terzic], and he told me what you see in these two games is like every training session."
It was yet another stamp to place on Bellingham's portfolio which has blossomed in his first season in Germany with Dortmund. The former Birmingham City midfielder has made 39 appearances this season across all competitions, scoring four goals - one in each in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and now Champions League.
"Not bad for a Championship player, eh?" is what Bellingham told UEFA.com after the game on Wednesday. "I think I've taken every game in my stride. It was a bit of a tough start away at Lazio, and since then I think all of my best performances in BVB colours have come in the Champions League.
"For me it's brilliant to play in this competition and to play for this club, it's a huge honour. I can take a lot away and learn from that."
Despite being knocked out of the Champions League, Dortmund are still chasing a place to qualify for the competition next season and Bellingham still has the chance to win a trophy in his first season with the club as BVB take on Holstein Kiel in the DFB Cup semi-finals at the beginning of May.
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