Manchester City’s missing link has always been the Champions League – tantalisingly out of reach among the blizzard of domestic domination under manager Pep Guardiola and his predecessors.
After a two-leg victory over Real Madrid, and the convincing manner in which it was accomplished over the course of almost six months, City will never have a better chance to fill that gap in their trophy room and finally achieve the ultimate goal of their Abu Dhabi-based ownership.
City were simply too good for Real, who are admittedly not the force they were, as they inflicted a first Champions League knockout defeat on manager Zinedine Zidane, a three-time winner.
There still remains real quality in the competition in the shape of the usual powerhouses Barcelona and Bayern Munich, quality that will decorate the new one-leg knockout format as the Champions League closing stages now move to Lisbon. Other serious threats await in Portugal.