UEFA Champions League Final 2023: Manchester City v Inter Milan

Manchester City finally pulled off the Holy Grail of footballing trophies on Saturday night, 10th June, beating a very spirited Italian side, Inter Milan, to take the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Manchester City finally win a historic treble with a Champions League final win

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, had chased this trophy with City for several years, losing out to Chelsea in 2021, finally winning it with the current squad of City superstars. It wasn’t the one-sided game the bookies would have you believe beforehand and chances were few and far between, but Rodrigo Hernández Cascante, known as Rodri, sealed Manchester City’s win with a strike in the second half to take the game and send City fans into ecstatic elation.

City didn’t play with their usual style or look like the team who had already won the FA Cup and the Premier League title a few games earlier. The game was a scrappy affair and Inter were in the game to the final whistle. Inter weren’t there just to make up the numbers and City didn’t have it all their own way. Inter, who had booked their place via Benfica and AC Milan, showed resolution, and determination and were unlucky not to get back in the tie when Lukaku came close in the final minutes and

Several of the City players had an off game, including their star striker Haaland, as well as Jack Grealish, Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, who eventually went off with a recurring injury. With De Bruyne off the field, City didn’t look like creating chances until the ball fell kindly to Rodri, from a poor clearance, to slot home from the edge of the box and score the only goal of the game to give City the top European prize and their 3rd trophy of the 2022/2023 season. Winning one of those trophies is hard enough, but to win all three in the same season is a very difficult feat which has only been done by City’s neighbours, United, back in 1999! 23 years later and it’s the Blue side of the City that rejoices!

Credit where it’s due

The treble is widely regarded as the following: the Domestic League, the main Domestic League Cup and the Champions League final.

Eight teams have won their domestic league, main domestic cup and Champions League final in the same season. Pep Guardiola is the only manager to do so twice, with the Spanish tactician having won the treble with Barcelona previously in 2008/09. Barcelona won the treble for a second time in 2014/15, whilst Bayern Munich also won trebles in 2012/13 and 2019/20 respectively.

Scottish outfit, Glasgow Celtic, were the first British team to win the treble in 1966/67, whilst Ajax (1971/72), PSV (1987/88) and Inter Milan (2009/10) have also completed the extraordinary feat.

Manchester City secured their first treble in English football in 2018/19 with Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup victories but, this is not considered to be the “true” treble!

Credit where it’s due though, to complete the treble in English Premiership football is as hard as any league in Europe, maybe even the world.

Pep Guardiola with the Champions League trophy

What next for Pep

Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of this season and he has already said he would like to end his run in the English Premiership on a high. It doesn’t get much higher than what he has just achieved. But, where next? He has always said he would like to manage the Spanish National side and also has mentioned he would like to train a South American team. “After seven years on this team, I think I’m going to have a stop. I’m going to have to take a break, see what we’ve done. And in the process, I would like to train a South American team, a European national side, playing a Copa America – I want to have that experience.”

Whatever happens next, I’m sure there will be a long list of suitors clamouring for his signature.

Final word

Congratulations to my Mancunian neighbours for winning this Champions league final and earning a historic treble. Despite what may be going on behind the scenes with financial irregularities, which no doubt will either be settled or come out in court, the team and management have just got on with playing football. They have played some fantastic football this year and I’ve quite enjoyed watching some of their games. They are deserving of what they achieved this year because, as a team, they have played better than anyone else. And that’s all the players can and need to do! I just hope that Manchester United can compete with them again soon!