Champions League: the debt that Pep Guardiola wants to repay to Barcelona

The Catalan technical winner won Orejona twice with the culé club, but he hasn’t lifted the precious trophy since leaving Barca’s shop. With Bayern Munich he could never go beyond the semi-finals, while with Manchester City he has already played in a final and lost it (in 2021). In Istanbul, against Inter, he has a new opportunity.

“It’s the competition that this club lacks.” The sentence is from Bernardo Silva, after the classification of the Manchester City for the 2022-2023 Champions League final. The Portuguese was one of the figures in this 4-0 rout (with dancing) of Ciudadanos against Real Madrid, to reach the definition against Inter Milan, which is played on Saturday in Istanbul.

This is the second European final in three years for the UAE capitals team, that he is getting closer to the definitive realization of the great wish of the sheikhs: to be European champion. Although at the national level, the cast sky blue He is a consistent performer, he has yet to make a splash beyond UK borders. Led by Pep Guardiola and a luscious portfolio, which has allowed them to grow stronger season after season (like this one, adding none other than Erling Haaland), the Manchester club are living a sweet moment and savoring the favoritism in the face of the clash. against the Italians.

As a preview, the Spanish coach played giving some pressure to Inter, a club that did indeed win the European Cup. “Historically, they are better than us. But it’s going to be better than the rival within 90 minutes. What you did in the group stage doesn’t count, neither in the Premier League nor in the FA Cup. We have to be better than them” said the Catalan.

That of Istanbul will be the fourth Champions League final for the strategist, who is seeking his third cup from the technical cabin. In his first year in charge of Barcelona, ​​he managed to bring the Catalans back to the final. In 2009 they beat Manchester United 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Two years later, at Wembley, and again against the Red Devils, he added his second title. After leaving the culé store, Guardiola’s history with the Champions League changes. Quite simply, for a reason: he no longer lifted the trophy. La Orejona resists that of Santpedor.

At the top of Bayern Munich, he reached the semi-finals three times in a row, but he could never cross that threshold. In the 2013-14 Champions League, he was knocked out with Real Madrid. Later, in 2014-15, Barcelona knocked him out. And at 15-16 they were overtaken by Atlético de Madrid. Towards the following season, he began his journey in England, replacing Manuel Pellegrini on the City bench.

His experience at the English club started with a stumble. During the 2016-17 edition, he was eliminated in the round of 16, against Monaco. Subsequently, they said goodbye in the quarter-finals for three consecutive years: they faced respectively Liverpool, Tottenham and Olympique de Lyon. Until 2020-2021, he finally reaches the decisive duel, the one that was initially supposed to take place in Istanbul, but which had to be transferred to Porto due to the pandemic. On May 29, 2021, City lost 1-0 to Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.

Pep’s closest Champions League history was in the 21-22 edition, when they touched the table in the decisive instance, but Madrid popped their mystical cut to snatch access in the shock against Klopp’s Liverpool, in Saint-Denis.

This season can be remarkable for Manchester City, because has the latent possibility of achieving the first hat-trick in its history. He clinched the Premier League title, pulling off a remarkable final sprint to overtake Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, who were leading the league and the main contenders for the crown. He got 89 points (28 wins, five draws and five losses). Then he won the FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley with two goals from Ilkay Gündogan.

The last step is missing to seal a season that can be unbeatable. And for Guardiola to pay his debt outside of Barcelona.

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Source: Latercera

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