Manchester City is aiming to win the Champions League for the first time and secure the Treble when they face Inter Milan in the final at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
The team, managed by Pep Guardiola, has already won the Premier League and FA Cup this season, and this is their second Champions League final in three years, having lost to Chelsea in 2020-21. City’s playmaker, Kevin de Bruyne, told BBC Radio 5 Live that they need to find a way to win their first Champions League trophy, as it would be significant for the players, the club, and the fans.
The only English team to have achieved the Treble is Manchester United, who won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.
Manchester City is in excellent form, having lost only one of their previous 26 games in all competitions and going unbeaten in Europe this season, winning seven of their 12 matches.
Guardiola is looking for European success for the first time since winning the competition in 2011 with Barcelona, where he also secured a treble two years earlier.
Guardiola believes his current City side is even more formidable than his Barcelona team of 2008-09, which won the treble. City has scored 31 goals and conceded only five in Europe this season, and they have one game still to play.
Guardiola credited his success to having previously managed Lionel Messi and currently working with Erling Haaland, stating that it is the truth and not a joke.
Inter Milan, led by Jose Mourinho, defeated Guardiola’s Barcelona in the semi-finals before winning their treble in 2010.
However, this will be the first time the Italian team will face Manchester City. Guardiola expressed his excitement about the final, stating that the Champions League is an incredible competition and achieving great things requires a combination of obsession, desire, and willingness to try.
Inter is targeting their fourth European title
Manchester City is considered the clear favorite against Inter, who are three-time European champions and finished third in Serie A this season while also winning the Coppa Italia for the second consecutive season.
Despite this, Inter should not be underestimated, as they have kept eight clean sheets in 12 matches so far in the tournament, with goalkeeper Andre Onana standing out as their top player. In addition, Simone Inzaghi’s team has a strong attacking force led by Lautaro Martinez, who has scored 28 goals and made 11 assists in 58 games this season. They also have former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko and Romelu Lukaku, who has not started a game in Europe this season but is available for selection.
Inzaghi has described the match as the most important of his career, and he believes that his players feel the same way. Inzaghi mentioned that players like Onana and Dzeko have previously played in semi-finals, which he believes benefits the team’s overall experience.
Martinez hopes that the team can put in a great performance and achieve their dream of winning the Champions League, although he acknowledges that it will be difficult. The forward believes that personality and determination are critical to succeeding in the final, and he has confidence in the team’s fighting spirit, which he feels has been missing for a while.
The Road to the Champions League Final: A Look at Inter Milan and Manchester City’s Journey
Manchester City had an excellent group stage, finishing at the top of Group G unbeaten and five points ahead of second-place Borussia Dortmund.
They won all their home games and beat Sevilla twice to progress to the knockout stages. In the last 16, they thrashed German side RB Leipzig 7-1 at home, with Haaland scoring five goals, and progressed 8-1 on aggregate. In the quarter-finals, City faced Guardiola’s former team Bayern Munich and won 3-0 in the first leg before drawing 1-1 in Germany to secure their spot in the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, they defeated 14-time champions Real Madrid 4-1 on aggregate, winning 2-1 away and 2-0 at home.
Inter Milan finished second in Group C behind Bayern Munich, with two losses in their six group games but finished ahead of Barcelona after a 1-0 win at home and 3-3 draw in Spain. They overcame Porto and Benfica in the knockout stages to set up a semi-final clash with city rivals AC Milan. They took a 2-0 lead in the first leg and won the second leg 1-0 to progress 3-0 on aggregate.
Inter Milan is only the fourth team in the Champions League era to reach the final after losing their opening game, following in the footsteps of AC Milan in 1994-95, Bayern Munich in 1998-99, and Tottenham in 2018-19, all of whom were defeated in the final.
Location: Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul
Date: Saturday 10th June
Start time: 8:00 PM BST