Manchester City have 'the best players in the world' - Mikel Arteta

MANCHESTER, England -- Mikel Arteta said Manchester City have the "best players in the world" and is delighted to still be at the club after a potential move to Arsenal did not materialise in the summer.

Arteta took the news conference ahead of City's Champions League opener with Lyon with Pep Guardiola banned for one match following his sending off in the quarterfinal defeat to Liverpool last season.

He will be in charge on the touchline for Wednesday's game and said he would not change City's squad for any other in the competition.

"For me we have the best players in the world and I look at our players as if they are the best," he said. "I look at the players, I see how they behave, how they react. The positives, negatives, their qualities and weaknesses. I wouldn't change my players for any others.

"They are absolutely fantastic, the hunger in this group is incredible. People talk about money to spend. But people have to look inside this club, what we have created, it's phenomenal.

"We have a very young squad. They gained a lot of experience in the last two years with the different things that have happened in the Champions League and we feel we are better prepared.

"But in the Champions League winning or losing is more detailed. We are preparing every detail to improve what we've done in the past. We believe we can do better and tomorrow everything starts. A new competition and we know how hard it is to play against the teams in Europe."

Arteta is looking forward to the opportunity of taking charge for Wednesday's game and said he expects to become a manager one day. But he has no regrets that a potential move to Arsenal did not happen and said he has learned a lot from working under Guardiola since he joined him at City in the summer of 2016.

"I am privileged to be where I am. I feel very fulfilled with the job I am doing at the moment," he said. "If you ask me the question, one day in the future I will be a coach and the answer is probably yes but I am really happy where I am and really enjoying the moment I am living.

"We have a fantastic momentum and there is still a lot of room for this club to grow -- so I am very pleased with where I am.

"[Pep] had a very clear role for me when he asked me to join because I was in the Premier League for 15 years. We knew each other from before but we clicked really quickly and understand each other really well and we think in the same direction.

"My learning in the last two years has been incredible alongside him and the players, staff. That will continue always."

City are among the favourites to lift the trophy in Madrid in June but despite believing City have the strongest squad, Arteta said it was difficult to look beyond Real after winning it in each of the last three seasons -- even without Cristinao Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.

"It has to be Real Madrid [as favourites], they have something special in this competition," he said. "They deal with every detail better than everyone else. They are the main favourites.

"The rest we have to catch up and make that gap smaller. But I think it is a very open Champions League -- like it was last season but it will be again. And there will be surprises because the difference between the teams is not big."