Kevin De Bruyne and Pep Guardiola: Champions League is City dream and obsession

By Sports Desk June 09, 2023

Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne admit winning the Champions League has become both a dream and an obsession for Manchester City.

City stand on the brink of glory as they prepare to face Inter Milan in the final in Istanbul on Saturday.

Guardiola’s side are strong favourites for a game that could not only see them crowned European champions for the first time but complete the treble.

The Premier League winners are hoping to put years of frustration behind them after several near misses in their pursuit of the prize they covet most.

De Bruyne gave his feelings on the matter when he was asked if victory was a “dream” or an “obsession” as City held a pre-match press conference at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Friday.

“Maybe both, it depends who you ask,” said the Belgium playmaker. “Every professional player wants to win the Champions League and be on top.

“If you can win the Champions League, you’ve reached one of the biggest things you can.”

“To compete every year is amazing, and I’ve been able to compete against the best, but we’ve got a chance to close that if we are good enough.”

City have reached the knockout stages of the tournament in each of Guardiola’s seven seasons as manager but they are yet to fulfil their ambition.

Their runners-up finish two seasons ago, when they were beaten by Chelsea in the final, is the closest they have come.

Guardiola, who won the competition twice as Barcelona boss, said: “It’s absolutely a dream, yes.

“To achieve things you always have to have the correct proportion of obsession and desire.

“It’s a positive word for the desire and will to win it. It is of course a dream for us.”

City’s outstanding season has been fuelled by the goalscoring of Erling Haaland.

The prolific Norwegian has netted 52 goals in an outstanding first campaign at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland admitted this week has was brought to City to win the Champions League and Guardiola – whose two previous successes came in tandem with Lionel Messi at Barcelona – hopes he proves the final piece of the jigsaw.

Asked what he would advise managers hoping to emulate his achievements, Guardiola said: “Have good players – have Messi, have Haaland. This is my success. I’m not joking.

“Every manager who has had success has had strong institutions and exceptional players. I’ve never scored a goal as a manager.”

Haaland actually goes into the game having scored just once in his last seven outings but this is not a concern for Guardiola.

“I don’t have doubts,” he said. “If you have doubts about Erling scoring you are a very lonely person.

“Tomorrow he will be ready to help us win the Champions League.”

Haaland has formed a potent attacking partnership with De Bruyne.

De Bruyne was cheekily asked at the press conference if it had been “love at first sight” between the pair.

De Bruyne said: “No. I’m happy with my wife!”

Elaborating more, he added: “You have a feeling with a player and I understand what he wants. It clicked really well. He’s scored at an incredible rate and settled really easily.”

De Bruyne has been chasing Champions League success with City since 2015.

He said: “We have been consistent, we have been good enough, but we need to find a way to win the first one. It would be immense for the club and the fans, something amazing.”

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