One mroe day of training at the Etihad campus for Manchester City before heading off to Istanbul to face Inter Milan at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium. The UEFA Champions League Fial is all that remains fro this group, and if they win it they will be immortal. Sky Blue News is here with the latest headlines to get you ready for the occasion.
If United had won the treble in the 94/95 season, he would have actually been correct. That year, UEFA had a ruling that only allowed clubs to play three foreign players and two foreign nationals that had progressed through the club’s academy. For their 4-0 defeat to Barcelona, United fielded Andrei Kanchelskis, Dennis Irwin and Roy Keane as their three ‘foreign’ players, with Ryan Giggs and Mark Hughes being classed as academy products (Hughes initially went through United’s youth team despite being transferred in later in his career).
However, the Bosman ruling changed everything and clubs were then allowed to play as many EU nationals in their teams as they liked. In 1999, United’s team consisted of eight players that would have been classed as foreign just a few years earlier.
Peter Schmeichel (Denmark), Ronny Johnsen (Norway), Jaap Stam (Netherlands), Jesper Blomqvist (Sweden) and Dwight Yorke (Trinidad and Tobago), joined Irwin and Giggs in the starting line-up, meaning only four of the XI were English. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Norway) became the eighth and substitute keeper Raimond van der Gouw (Netherlands) meant only half of the team was home-grown, not packed like Beckham claims.
And, if you look at the players that were bought, 11 of the 18-man squad came to the club for a fee, with seven of the starting line-up brought in from other clubs. Does this mean, under the unofficial ruling, that United bought the Champions League in 1999? Surely not!
FANS AT WEMBLEY WERE AMAZING, WE NEED YOU AGAIN IN ISTANBUL! - GUNDOGAN - Jonathan Smith - ManCity.com
Gundogan scored the quickest goal in FA Cup final history after just 12.91 seconds to set us on our way to a memorable victory.
And he says the positive pre-match atmosphere was a big contributor to City’s fast start against United.
After making such a big contribution to the victory at Wembley, Gundogan wants the fans to bring the same energy to the Champions League when we face Inter with the chance of securing a historic Treble.
“Our fans are going to be so important for us again this weekend, as they always are,” he said.
“You only have to look at Saturday’s match at Wembley to show you how vital they are to our performance.
“Our fans were amazing from start to finish. Hearing them sing ‘Blue Moon’ in the tunnel, the deafening atmosphere as we walked out onto the pitch to a sea of blue, the Poznan as we waited for the match to start on the pitch, it was incredible and, in my opinion, helped us score after 13 seconds.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL EXCLUSIVE: ‘INVINCIBLE’ MANCHESTER CITY WILL BE TOO STRONG FOR INTER MILAN SAYS PETER CROUCH - EuroSport
City are huge favourites to overcome Inter – who beat rivals AC Milan in the semi-final – and BT Sport expert and former Liverpool and England international Crouch believes the Nerazzurri will be powerless to stop them.
“With the Champions League, I’ve been watching Man City every week, and you can’t see anything other than [them winning it],” Peter Crouch told Eurosport’s tennis expert Alex Corretja at the French Open in Paris.
“They’ve won the FA Cup, they’ve won the [Premier] League, and the last one is the Champions League.
“The last team [to do the treble] was Manchester United, so City could do it this weekend and I just can’t see Inter Milan stopping them.”
City underlined their credentials by brushing aside 14-time winners Real Madrid in the semi-final, beating Carlo Ancelotti’s side 4-0 in the second leg to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.
Kyle Walker makes Man City Champions League final injury vow ahead of Inter Milan showdown - Matthew Holt - Manchester Evening News
The Three Lions international was withdrawn late on during City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday, as Pep Guardiola’s side made it a domestic double. He then did not feature in an open training session on Tuesday as City continued preparations for the weekend clash with Inter Milan in Istanbul.
“I’m fine, I’m just getting old,” he told Sky Sports News. “I’m completely fine, it’s just an extra day of recovery.
“I’ve played a lot of minutes over the last number of weeks so the manager said, ‘Just stay inside and come Saturday you will be raring to go’.
“I’m fine, the minutes that I’ve played when everyone else was injured, I was there digging my heels in and getting through it. I won’t be missing the Champions League final for anything.”
Erling Haaland issues warning to Inter ahead of Champions League final in pursuit of “big history” - Freddie Pye - City Xtra
Pep Guardiola and his players are on the search for Manchester City’s first success in Europe’s premier club competition, and will be hoping to make amends for a disappointing outcome against Chelsea in 2021.
The difference perhaps this season is Manchester City are now equipped with arguably the best striker in world football, with Erling Haaland having recorded a staggering 52 goals in 52 appearances across all competitions, complimented by a further nine assists.
After scoring one goal in his last seven games during the closing stages of this season, there has been plenty of conversation in recent days about whether Erling Haaland is in the right sort of form to be the man to deliver on Europe’s biggest stage this weekend.
Speaking to the media ahead of the contest in Istanbul, Haaland admitted that he feels an extra responsibility to deliver when chances to score are presented at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, as he looks to deliver the one trophy that has so far evaded his employers.
“Of course I feel responsibility,” said the 22 year-old. “But I’m confident that we are a good team, and we have to perform at our best to be able to do this. One game left to create big history, and I will do everything I can to make that happen.”
Why John Stones is Manchester City’s most important player as they chase the treble - Ryan Dabbs - FourFourTwo
Stones’ impact at City has been well-documented already, with the way he steps out from defence to create a box midfield highlighted in great detail over the course of the campaign.
Other teams have implemented these tactics, too, such as Oleksandr Zinchenko at Arsenal, in order to create overloads. However, where the crucial difference lies in Pep Guardiola’s system is that Stones performs the job of a highly accomplished midfielder in possession, and a hard-nosed defender when out of it.
Stones starts attacks from City’s backline, carrying the ball out from defence or when they’re being put under pressure by the opposition’s high press. Trusted in tight situations, Stones comfortably and confidently deals with these scenarios expertly, ensuring he breaks lines to progress the ball further up the pitch.
Ostensibly, he is there to create overloads, but because he is so accomplished in the midfield, he doesn’t mind running into vacated spaces either. Indeed, on multiple occasions Stones ran in behind the Manchester United defence during the FA Cup final to take advantage of the space, not something many centre-backs/defensive midfielders do.
What is more impressive, though, is that his primary job is still to defend in the centre of defence, something he does assuredly through aerial duels, blocks and organisation.
And, as FourFourTwo’s Adam Clery asks, at what stage does John Stones enter the conversation of being one of England’s greatest ever centre-backs? A treble certainly won’t diminish his case, that’s for sure.
Is John Stones now Manchester City's most important player? https://t.co/9VCV8XwLnj— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) June 6, 2023
And finally... Super Jack has a new super car to cruise around the streets of Manchester.
BLUE VROOM Jack Grealish gets £210,000 Lamborghini personalised by Arsenal fan to celebrate Man City’s title and FA Cup triumph - Gary Stonehouse - The Sun
The 27-year-old City midfielder, who earns £300,000-a-week following his £100m move from boyhood club Aston Villa to the Etihad in 2021, also recently penned the most lucrative boot sponsorship deal in Britain.
Grealish teamed up with German sportswear giant Puma for a reputed £10m-a-year and is on course to make a £100m fortune before the age of 30.
And he also has a £10m deal with Gucci and a sponsorship contract with boohooMan estimated at being worth around £1million.
Now he has used some of his well-earned cash to splash out on customising a Lamborghini Performante Urus.
The sports car, which is light blue like his club’s home strip, is said to be worth between £205k and £210k before personalisation.
But Grealish has paid extra to get his new motor wrapped by celebrity car customiser Yianni Charalambous.
Jack Grealish treats himself to stunning £210k customised Lamborghini https://t.co/GTvRwLyXZs— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) June 6, 2023
There you have it. Stay with Bitter and Blue as we move ever closer to the UCL Final on June 10. Sky Blue News returns tomorrow with more headlines.