To achieve game greatness, there must be a defining moment. The Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul was held on Saturday Manchester City, A scene where an obsession finally became a reality History is made.
Since Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Abu Dhabi United Group took ownership of the club in 2008, the ultimate aim has been to win Europe’s premier cup competition.
Billions of dollars have been spent over the past 15 years and controversy has surrounded the club, but now the Champions League will, finally, live long in their memory after a 1-0 win over Inter Milan. The result is better than the competition.
It wasn’t just a night when City won their first Champions League. In defeating three-time champions Inter, Pep Guardiola’s side became only the second English side to achieve the treble by winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season.
Manchester United were the first to do so in the 1998/99 season, and while comparing teams from different eras is pointless, this City side is certainly as dominant domestically as Alex Ferguson’s United, winning five league titles in six seasons.
The challenge now is to ruthlessly accumulate titles in Europe. After all, it is the series winners of the tournament who are remembered and admired the most.
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Rodri captures City’s Champions League trophy winner
It’s a match of few chances, but a lot of intrigue.
Bernardo Silva went close for City in the first five minutes, while Erling Holland had the best chance of the match in the 26th minute, drawing a narrow save from Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana.
Norway’s try came minutes after Nicolo Parella found City goalkeeper Ederson off his line.
As it got in the first half, Inter’s high-energy, aggressive pressing left City with plenty of possession but little to show for it.
The second half was full as Inter continued to defend brilliantly and City continued to probe for openings. However, Inter could have scored at least twice as Rodri put City ahead in the 68th minute, his curling first-time shot past several Inter defenders to cut-back Bernardo Silva.
Federico DiMarco’s header hit the crossbar, while his follow-up effort from six yards struck team-mate Romelu Lukaku. In the closing minutes, Ederson saved a Lukaku header from point-blank range that sealed the trophy for City.
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Manchester City have won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League this season.
In September 2008 Sheikh Mansoor – attending his second City game on Saturday – wrote a An open letter For City fans, he told them the owners were ambitious but “not unreasonably” and had taken time to build a team, a club capable of challenging for league titles and European Cups.
The Premier League was captured within four years, the first title won, snatched from Manchester United in the final seconds of the final day of the season, starting an era of dominance that continues to this day.
However, success in Europe has taken longer than many expected. Monaco in 2017, Liverpool in 2018, Tottenham in 2019, Lyon in 2020, Chelsea in 2021 and Real Madrid in 2022: City have consistently lost in the knockout stages of the Champions League. “This match is very difficult to win,” Guardiola told BT Sport after the match.
It was Guardiola’s arrival in 2016 that changed City’s fortunes in the Champions League, although last summer’s acquisition of Haaland made City a force in Europe. The striker admitted this week that he was bought to help win the competition. He “feels the pressure,” he said. Not that his extraordinary 52 goals in a season showed on the pitch, although Inter’s defense in Istanbul kept him on the perimeter and he failed to find the net.
The Norwegian’s goals were key in turning what Guardiola described as a “dream” and “obsession” into reality in the build-up to the game. However, it was Guardiola who was behind the success.
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Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (centre) pictured during the final.
It’s hard to believe this is a club playing in the third tier of English football in 1999, struggling to win games let alone trophies. The 2003 move to the stadium, now known as the Etihad, followed by an investment by the club’s Abu Dhabi owners, the likes of which football had never seen before, paved the way for this memorable night in Istanbul.
Will City be as dominant in the Champions League as they are in the Premier League? First, it will lead many to the leadership of Guardiola, a manager described by many as the greatest in the history of the game, a man many of his players have called a genius, and now the first manager to win the treble twice, initially achieving the feat with Barcelona.
Darker clouds may be on the horizon, however, with the Premier League in February accusing City of more than 100 infringements. FINANCIAL RULES OF THE LEAGUE and referring the club to an independent commission. Citi has denied any wrongdoing, saying it was “amazing to report these breaches”.
According to the league manual, It can lead to suspension from the league, deduction of points or an unlimited fine if found guilty.
City fans have enjoyed unprecedented success under Guardiola.
Whatever the commission’s findings, it may take years, and whether or not success comes with a caveat, the team Guardiola has built is undoubtedly one of the best in history.
On Saturday, all thoughts were about celebrating this season’s feat. A tearful Jack Grealish, the most expensive British player in history, struggled to find words during his live television on-pitch interview.
“This is what you work for all your life. I’m very happy now,” he told BT Sport. “I played very badly today, but I’m not worried. Winning the treble with this group of players is very special…
“This is what I’ve worked for my whole life. To all the people who have helped you along the way, seeing my family in the crowd makes me emotional.