Manchester - Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso claimed on Monday that Manchester City's struggles in the Champions League prove it is not possible for clubs to buy success in Europe's top competition.
Despite investing heavily in new players over the past six years, bankrolled by Emirati owner Sheikh Mansour, City have been knocked out of the Champions League in the group phase twice in the last three seasons.
That fate will befall them again if they cannot beat Bayern at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday and the other Group E game between CSKA Moscow and Roma does not end in a draw. Bayern have already qualified for the last 16.
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Alonso starred for the Liverpool team that enjoyed an unexpected Champions League triumph in 2005 and when asked if City's struggles demonstrated that money was not the only answer, he replied: "Absolutely. Football is not mathematics. There's not like a determined formula where you're buying success.
"Because of that, you get big surprises in football, but you have to do things properly and, normally, if you do things properly, you will reach success.
"That year with Liverpool was really a great surprise, a great miracle. We've talked about that many times. We enjoyed it and it was very different than what's going on with City."
However, Alonso, who turns 33 on Tuesday, believes that European success will not elude Manuel Pellegrini's team for long.
"It's hard to tell from the outside, but of course you expect that any season City will make that impact in Europe," the Spain international said during a pre-game press conference at a Manchester hotel.
"So far they haven't done it but I'm pretty sure that a big year for City in Europe isn't far away. Because season by season, they try to improve.
"It looks like a very serious project and competing with the other top clubs in Europe is one of their goals.
"Even though the situation looks difficult for them, it might change in 90 minutes. Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will have to do our job, but I have good friends at City, so I wish them the best of luck."