Republic of Ireland midfielder Jack Byrne believes his former club Manchester City can fulfil Pep Guardiola's Champions League dream.

City are aiming to win the competition for the first time against English rivals and 2012 champions Chelsea in Porto on Saturday.

Perhaps just as significantly, their manager is aiming to claim a title that has eluded him since steering Barcelona to glory in 2009 and 2011.

"It has been a long since Guardiola won the trophy," Byrne, who came through the ranks at City but never made a competitive senior appearance, told 2fm's Game On.

"I think he'll want to get that stigma away from him that he didn’t just win it with the likes of Xavi and Messi, that he can go and do it with Man City.

"It was probably expected that he would have done it at Bayern Munich so he’ll be raring to go."

Jack Byrne in action for Manchester City in a friendly against Porto in 2015

The Dubliner, who remains friends with rising City star Phil Foden, expects the Premier League champions to have too much for the Blues, especially if the Londoners match Jorginho against Kevin de Bruyne in midfield.

"I think Manchester City are the best team in Europe," said Byrne. "They have a huge squad so they have been chopping and changing and they’ll be fresh.

"Since (Thomas) Tuchel went in to Chelsea they’ve been really strong defensively but if City go up early Chelsea will have to come out and City will beat them by two."

Byrne, who left Shamrock Rovers for Cypriot side APOEL earlier this year, is back in training after surgery on a herniated disc ruled him out of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers in March.

Looking at the League of Ireland landscape, he has been impressed by Sligo Rovers march to the top of the table - "Liam Buckley is doing a brilliant job, Greg Bolger is playing like a 22-year-old" - but thinks his former team still have the strongest squad and will retain their Premier Division title.

"I think they will win it but I think it will be close."