Manchester City vs Inter Milan summary: score, goals, highlights | 2023 Champions League final
Man City vs Inter: UCL final as it happened
Manchester City lift the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan, completing the final leg of a historic treble for Pep Guardiola's side.
Much has been made of City's transformation this season. The height, the physicality, the introduction of a genuine target man to lead the line. In the Ataturk Stadium on Saturday, Pep's fortified side showed that they had the mettle.
Inter Milan, cup specialists under Simone Inzaghi, came into the game as underdogs but managed to keep City at a distance in the opening 45 minutes. Erling Haaland has been unplayable at times this year, but Inter marshalled him well. They disrupted City's play and frustrated their players.
Inter will have been the happier of the two sides after a goalless first half. City had suffered a key injury too, Kevin de Bruyne withdrawn due to a hamstring injury.
It looked, briefly, like things could go wrong for City in a game that would decide their season. But this team have a mental toughness to match their physical attributes.
When the goal came, it was a distillation of the City from previous years. Dazzling feet from Phil Foden, a slipped through ball for the onrushing Bernardo Silva, then a clever pull-back and a frictionless finish from Rodri. It was classic Guardiola.
After that goal Inter went straight on the offensive, knowing that they had 20 minutes to unsettle Guardiola's side. But this team do not cower, and would not be rattled. They relied on a couple of sharp saves from Ederson in the final minutes to keep Inter at bay, but in truth this felt different from previous City teams.
For once it was City who dictated the final moments, who knew when to slow it down and take their time. In the intense pressure of the Champions League, City have buckled in the past. This time around they stayed strong and stood tall.
Erling Haaland gets his hands on the cup
Few members of this incredible Manchester City side have contributed more to the treble than Erling Haaland, the man brought in to deliver European glory. Haaland has scored 52 goals in all competitions, doing so in his debut season in English football.
He was fairly quiet in the final against Inter but had done so much already to get them to the final. He was close to tears after the full time whistle as the enormity of this achievement became clear.
Investment pays off for City chairman
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak lift the trophy after City's Champions League triumph. The journey to take Manchester City to the top of the club game has been a long one, and one that has endured many bumps along the way. But under the guidance of Guardiola, who must surely now be considered the finest coach of his generation, they have reached the promised land.
Seventh time's the charm for Pep and City
In recent years, Manchester City has seemed to find every conceivable way to avoid winning the Champions League. There have been late losses, punishing defeats and miniscule VAR decisions. But this year they looked like the real deal and Pep Guardiola's incredible team have lifted the big one.
Stones the key man in City success
What a season it has been for John Stones. There was a time, not so long ago, when it seemed like he had slipped from first team consideration at Manchester City. He had always seemed like the ideal Pep Guardiola defender, but few would have predicted him forcing his way back into the team as the ideal Pep Guardiola midfielder.
The Englishman's technical abilities were never in doubt but his adaptability will have surprised more than a few onlookers in recent months. Transformed into an auxiliary midfielder, Stones has been an ever-present in recent months and has added crucial steel to City's absurdly talented midfield. He was pushed even further forward against Inter Milan, playing almost as an attacking midfielder at time, taking on more of the burden of creation after the substitution of Kevin de Bruyne in the first half.
It was a crowning performance from the imperious Stones, as City became kings of Europe.
Pep Guardiola was brought to Manchester City with the aim of winning the club's first European title. Finally, after years of near misses, he has done exactly that.
This triumph puts the Catalan coach on three European titles as a manager, putting him in very elite company. How many more with Pep get?
John Stones thrives in new role
Well, I did say that Stones was pushing forward a lot!
The Englishman's transformation from central defender to ball-playing midfielder has been one of the most notable parts of City's success in the second half of this season. Against Inter Milan he looked to be playing even further further, almost level with Kevin de Bruyne.
Not only was he playing closer to the forward line, Stones was playing like a forward!
Another award for Erling Haaland
What a season Erling Haaland has had in his first year in English football. The Norwegian sensation has won the treble, broken the Premier League scoring record and also finished as the top goal scorer in the Champions League.
And terrifyingly, at 22 years of age, he's probably just getting started.
City fans rejoice
Manchester City fans in the 4TheFans Fan Park celebrate after the team emerged victorious in the Champions League final. After years of near-misses Pep Guardiola's side finally got over the line against Inter Milan and secured a famous treble.
Did Ederson win the Champions League?
For all Manchester City's attacking talents, and there are many, it was goalkeeper Ederson who starred in the crucial final stages. The City stopper had a couple of shaky moments early on in the final but he came into his own towards the end with two crucial saves.
He twice denied Inter Milan with sharp saves and came out to claim a dangerous cross with second remaining. Sofascore gave him the highest rating of any player in the final.
For the first time since 2010, Sheikh Mansour was in attendance for a Manchester City. He was there at the Ataturk Stadium to see the team that he owns lift the Champions League, the most coveted prize in club football.
But what do we know about the City owner, and how much is he worth?
Three's the charm for Pep Guardiola
For the third time in his stellar managerial career, Pep Guardiola is a European champion. Crucially, however, this is his first UCL triumph since leaving his homeland of Barcelona, where he could call upon the era-defining talents of Lionel Messi.
Bringing European success to City, a club who has craved this trophy for so long, must rank among his greatest achievements as a coach.
Manchester City lift the Champions League
Here it is, the moment that Manchester City lifted the Champions League trophy after years of heartache. It was Ilkay Gundogan, who has performed so well in recent months, who did the honours as club captain and brought a stunning season to a close.
'We are the champions', blares over the stadium PA system.
And they are. But not just of the Champions League, but of the FA Cup and the Premier League too. It's an incredible achievement and one that has only been managed once before in the history of English football.
As the City players take turns to hold the trophy aloft, Pep Guardiola takes a step back from the crowd of blue-shirted players to take it all in. He looks up, almost wistfully, at the golden confetti fluttering in the Istanbul night sky.
It's taken a while for him to get this team to the promised land, but get there they have.
And he raises it high into the air
MANCHESTER CITY ARE CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE
Gold confetti flies around the City squad and the team celebrates the ending of a historic season, one that ends with treble. What a season, and what a team!
Ilkay Gundogan picks up the cup and heads over the the rest of his teammates....
Erling Haaland looks a little overwhelmed are he strolls onto the stage and past the Champions League trophy. No one has played a bigger part in this year's successes than him, and the season ends in glory.
And now, Manchester City!
The Manchester City players are in a much more conversational mood as they step up to collect their medals. Pep Guardiola has a close embrace with Sheikh Mansour, the rarely seen but often-discussed City owner.
The City players gleefully collect their medals and take the places on the trophy lift stage...
Manchester City have formed a guard of honour for the defeated Inter players to pass through on their way to collect the medals. UEFA boss Gianni Infantino is taking his time with the process, having a little chat with the players as they go past
Most of them look like they just want to get it over with.
Presentation ceremony begins in the Ataturk Stadium
We're onto the medal-giving now, with the referee and match officials up first to receive their trinkets.
Next up, a decidedly gloomy set of Inter Milan players.
Manchester City's achievements this year will go down as one of the great in the history of British football and one that few teams in Europe have ever managed. 'The treble' is often spoken of in hushed tones by soccer fans, but what does it actually mean?
We explain all...
A new name on the trophy
For the first time in their history Manchester City are European champions. As we await for the presentation in Istanbul, a new name is being carved onto the famous trophy.
How many more with City win before Guardiola decides to leave? You get the feeling that this will not be their last...
The moment City became European champions
After years of longing, Manchester City finally reached the promised land with a 1-0 win over Inter Milan. When the final whistle went the City players and backroom staff poured onto the pitch in jubilation, bringing to a close a long pursuit.
Did Ederson win it for City?
Manchester City needed to massive saves from Ederson to ensure that they ended the game with a win. The Brazilian stopper made two crucial saves towards the end to keep his team ahead, just as Inter were gaining momentum.
Opta found that City had an xG of 0.94 tonight, far less than Inter's 1.77.
City fans rejoice!
Manchester City survived a late scare to clinch the Champions League trophy, the one priza that had eluded them under Pep Guardiola. The Premier League champions have been the best team in Europe in recent months and are deserved winners.
Finally Pep Guardiola returns to the pinnacle of the European game and buries the memories of previous near misses. Inter Milan fought bravely against City but the Premier League champions did enough to secure the final leg of a famous treble.
A goal from Rodri, coolly slotted past Onana, was the difference today and City have reached the promised land.
City players collapse to the turf in the Ataturk Stadium having finally secured the one prize that had eluded them. Erling Haaland, who had very little involvement in the game, has his head in his hands and appears close to tears.
Peep peeeep peeeep
MANCHESTER CITY ARE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS
It ends 1-0 and Guardiola's side have done it!
Corner ball for Inter Milan a last chance now!
Inzaghi pushes someone on the touchline. Not sure who. Tensions are high!
A long ball is launched forward by Onana but Ederson is there to claim it. The City keeper collapses onto the ground. Just one minute remaining.
The cross is cleared as far as Barella. The Italian slashes at a volley that flies over the bar. The minutes are slipping away for Inter now.
Inter Milan win a free kick on the right wing, in a great position to deliver into the box...
Erling Haaland and Andre Onana are both booked after a clash in the box. Inter free kick, launched forward.
Five minutes of added time
Five more minutes, that's what we've got.
Can Inter find an equaliser? Can City see it out?
Inter Milan fans in the crowd hold their heads in their hands. That was so close to an equaliser.
But Inter are clearly not giving up here and they're on the attack again. It's Lukuka, in space, but his effort is dragged wide of the far post.
City goal kick. How long to go?
SO close! Lukaku
WOWWW! The ball's worked in towards Lukaku but his header is saved and then pushed wide for a corner. Inches!
City are definitely dropping deeper now, with all 11 players inside their own half as Inter build up on the halfway line. Simone Inzaghi is gesturing wildly on the touchline as his side patiently works their way up the pitch.
Good play for Inter here..,
Nathan Ake dallies over a throw in in the full back area and is told to get a move on by the assistant referee. This is going City's way now, but you sense that they might be another chance for Inter in the closing stages. Can they make the most of it?
Two more subs for Inter Milan as D'Ambrossio and Mkhitaryan come on for the final few minutes. It's Mkhitaryan's first appearance in weeks, can he spark a comeback?
Booking for the Inter striker now, who was a little too zealous in his defensive duties. City have the free kick out wide, midway into the Inter half.
After a few minutes waiting on the touchline Kyle Walker comes on, replacing John Stones.
John Stones is down in the box with a shirt that appears to have been slashed down the side. Not entirely sure how that happened, and it doesn't look like we'll find out, he's being replaced.
Bernardo Silva jinks his way down the right wing and is felled by Marcelo Brozovic. City win the free kick and eat up a little more time.
Silva whips it in but Onana claims easily.
A brilliant flick-on from Romelu Lukaku forces a corner for Inter Milan. Can they work something here? No, it's Haaland back to head away.
But Inter come forward again... Barella's long-range effort flies over the bar.
Little over ten remaining now.
Chance! Manchester City
Brilliant from Phil Foden. The Englishman swivel in the middle of the Inter half and sprints in on goal, slipping through a gap in the Inter defence.
He's one-on-one with Onana but his low shot is comfortably saved.
In the meantime Inter do make a substitute, two of them!
Robin Gosens and Raoul Bellanova enter the fray for the final 15 of normal time.
Free kick for a foul on Bernardo Silva and a chance for City to make that substitution. Kyle Walker comes on for... Wait, no he doesn't there seems to be some confusion on the City bench.
Chance! Inter Milan
Now we've got a game on our hands.
Romelu Lukaku picks up the ball on the right and drives at the City defence, firing a low shot towards goal. Ederson gets down low to save. Can Inter keep this up?
What a moment that could of been. Nearly an instant response from the Italian side.
It wasn't a goal but it has certainly given Inter fans a boost. So close to equalising their fans are back on their feet.
City are readying Kyle Walker from the bench.
Chance! Inter Milan
Incredible! Inter Milan nearly go up the other end and score.
The ball bounced to Dimarco in the box and he lofted a head over the onrushing Ederson. The ball came back off the crossbar but Dimarco's second attempt is blocked by Lukaku!
Bernardo Silva raced on a ball behind the Inter defence and fired it across the six yard box. Inter managed to repel the first ball but it fell to Rodri, arriving late in the box. The Spaniard curls the ball home from 15 yards to give City the crucial lead!
What can Inter Milan muster now?
GOOOAAAAALLLLL! Manchester City
And there it is, Rodri with the first goal of the Champions League final!
Nearly a chance for Haaland. The City striker picks up a lose ball and drives at the Inter defence, looking to play a one-two with Foden on the edge of the box.
The pass is a little sloppy and Acerbi is on hand to mop up.
Plenty of shoving in the box and Inter are awarded a free kick. John Stones really seems to be in the heart of everything here, both good and bad.
John Stones receives it on the right flank and looks to play a low ball across to Haaland. An Inter defenders cuts it out and ball goes for a corner. Grealish to take.
Neat play from Inter see the ball worked out wide to Brozovic. It's whipped into the box by Barella but City clear, a chance to break now perhaps...
First signs of frustration from Haaland as he drops deep to receive the ball but loses it with a poor pass out to Grealish. Without De Bruyne's incisive passing City have struggled to get the ball into Haaland in positions where he can be dangerous.
First booking of the game goes to the Inter midfielder for a pretty cynical challenge.
City lob the resultant free kick into the box but it's headed well over.
Still very little service for Erling Haaland. The Inter backline is doing a brilliant job of shielding the ball from his feet and forcing City out wide.
It is time for Romelu Lukaku! The big Belgian replaces the big Bosnian as the focal point of the Inter attack.
Inter work their way up the pitch and look to swing the ball into the City box. Guardiola's team manage to repel the ball but it simply goes back to Inter. This might be their best spell of the game from an offensive perspective.
Hang on, Edin Dzeko is down. It might be Lukaku time!
The intensity of this game has definitely increased in recent minutes with both teams flying into challenges.
It's Foden who gives away a foul this time and screams furiously at referee Marciniak. It's heating up!
Big tackle from Gundogan in the middle to halt an Inter break and get his team on the counter. Grealish sets off on a mazy run but Darmian shoves him off the ball and gives away a foul.
City win the free kick but Grealish's cross is well over hit.
City win a free kick on the halfway line as Darmian and Calhanoglu are a little to eager to dispossess Gundogan. It's a pretty obvious foul, but a promising sign for Inzaghi's team.
Inter enjoy a decent spell of possession for the first time since the break and manage to work the ball through the City press. A raking pass out towards Dumfries is intercepted by Ake and goes for an Inter throw.
Those sort of rapid switches have been a hallmark of Inter's play this season and could cause City problems.
Marcelo Brozovic goes down clutching his back after a knock from Silva. The referee initially waves away the Inter protests but stops play as Silva advances forward with the ball.
Both sides, naturally, are furious.
Brilliant play from Dzeko to hold off a number of City challenges and fires a low ball down the line to Martinez. The Argentine can't quite latch on to the pass and City recover the ball, but its a promising start for Inter.
And we're back
The second half is underway, let's see what Manchester City can do in the next 45 minutes.
The players are back on the pitch at the Ataturk Stadium for the second half. After 45 minutes of action the scores remain level, who will make the breakthrough?
The players are gathering in the tunnel and readying themselves for the second half, Pep Guardiola looks pretty nervous as he emerges from the City changing room.
And a word for the Inter Milan fans
Few would have expected this aging Inter Milan squad to make it to the final of the Champions League, but the Nerazzurri faithful are certainly making the most of the occasion.
For all the stars on the pitch, the Inter fans have been a constant force at the Ataturk Stadium. The longer this game remains 0-0, the more they will believe that an upset is on the cards here.
Well, half time. What have we learnt?
If anyone was expecting Inter Milan to be brushed aside by the might of Manchester City they will have been surprised by the opening 45. City have, of course, dominated the ball but Inter's central six defenders and midfielders have made it all-but impossible to play through the middle.
City have only found space out wide, with Dimarco and Dumfries have proved worthy advisories. Haaland has had very little to work with so far, although he did force one sharp save from Onana.
There has been little attacking intent from Inter, but they have managed to disrupt City's play from defence. Will Guardiola be tempted to throw more forward in the second half? Let's see...
Some more stats - and this is a fantastic (and sad) one:
The last time City were in a Champions League final, De Bruyne also went off injured in the game!
Here's how Sofascore saw the game:
City dominated on the influence graph, but Inter certainly had their moments... let's see if things change in the second half.
There were not a huge number of chances in the first half of the Champions League final, but there was one major talking point in the opening 45 minutes. Manchester City's Kevin de Bruyne, so often the difference-maker, was substituted midway through the first half.
What was it that forced the early switch?
Peeep peeep peeeeep
And there we go, half time. All square.
Inter Milan will be very, very happy with that half. For De Bruyne-less City, that was a frustrating half.
To their credit, Inter are not content to sit back here and they are pressing the City defenders.
City work the ball up the pitch and Akanji finds a pocket of space around 25 yards out. The defender lets fly and it sails over the bar, much to the delight of Inter fans/frustration of Jack Grealish.
Two minutes of added time
Not long to go now...
Another clipped pass from Onana finds the head of Edin Dzeko and the veteran forward flicks the ball on. No one's there to chase it, however, and City reclaim the ball.
Foden swings it in but his cross is over hit and the ball goes out for a Inter goal kick. Not long until the break now.
Simeone Inzaghi is berating his players as Gundogan finds a pocket of space on the left flank. City have had possession for the last couple of minutes now but havent been able to work the ball into a dangerous position.
A change of pace from Jack Grealish looks to have sent him free down the wing he's bundled over by a desperate challenge from Dumfries. Free kick to City from the left wing, De Bruyne looks on...
Little bit of play-acting from Acerbi to exaggerate the contact from Foden and win a free kick.
Inter will be very happy to get to half time at 0-0, five minutes of normal time remaining in the first 45.
The Inter backline looks to be relishing this battle with Haaland. Francesco Acerbi flies into a challenge to clear the ball as it approaches the City striker. The three Inter defenders have managed to keep him quiet so far.
How long will it last?
It looks like De Bruyne/Foden substitution is a straight swap with the Englishman moving into the City midfield. Foden is the closest to Haaland, who has struggled to get into the game so far.
Interest stat from the first 35 minutes in the Champions League final...
Manchester City have had 67% of the ball so far, but Inter have had 4 attempts on goal to City's 3.
Kevin de Bruyne is replaced by Phil Foden.
Bad news for City as the Belgian magician is substituted. Still, not a bad replacement. Let's see how that changes the City set up.
Kevin de Bruyne is definitely moving a little gingerly, if you'll pardon the pun.
The City superstar is clearly feeling the after-effects of that knock and Foden is still on his feet in the City technical area.
Wait.. he's signalled to the bench, De Bruyne is going off!
There's definitely been a bit more confidence in Inter's play in the last few minutes. More willingness to play out from the back, a bit more time in midfield to play their passes.
It must also be said that the Inter Milan fans in the stands are looking pretty confident too. Their side of the stadium is bouncing in unison, a sea of blue and black shirts rippling across one flank of the Ataturk Stadium.
Kevin de Bruyne
A real concern for City here as Kevin de Bruyne is down injured. The Belgian hobbles off to receive treatment and Phil Foden is readied on the touchline.
It looks like De Bruyne will be fit to continue, but that's one to keep an eye on here.
All of Inter's attacking intent so far has come down the right, with Onana finding Dumfries in space on the flank. That combination gets the ball forward to Dzeko, who is felled by a City challenge. Free kick Inter.
We're up and running now. A powerful run from De Bruyne creates the space to slip the ball through to Haaland.
The Norwegian has a tough angle to contend with but he fires the ball goalwards. Onana is equal to it and nudges it wide of the post.
What on earth?! An Inter attack appeared to have fizzled out but a loose pass from Ederson was intercepted by Brozovic in the Inter midfielder.
He tries to lift the ball into the empty net but his effort goes wide.
'RELAX,' Guardiola screams at his team.
Onana launches one forward to the left wing towards the head of Federico Dimarco. Akanji muscles the wing back out of the way and the ball trickles through to Ederson.
In response to that passage of play, Dzeko makes clear that he believes that he might be a better target in future.
Nicolo Barella goes down under a challenge from Gundogan, who did catch the Inter midfielder on the ankle. It looks like he'll be fine though.
Inter's work without the ball really is excellent.
A few players will likely find their way into the referee's notebook before too long but they are as organised as they are dogged. City struggling to build any passing moves.
Chance for Inter Milan to break as Martinez darts onto a loose ball. He looks for Dzeko outside him but the Bosnian's touch lets him down.
The ball drops to Brozovic, 30 yards out, and he lets fly at goal. It goes way, way over the crossbar.
Twenty minutes gone, the noise is astonishing. Both sides will be fairly happy with how it's gone.
Bit of a telling off for Marcelo Brozovic there, who makes a fairly cynical chalelnge on Bernardo Silva as he skips through the midfield. Referee Szymon Marciniak is keeping his hands in his pockets for now, however.
Pep Guardiola, by the way, is doing his best Diego Simeone impression in an all-black ensemble with a tight-fitting suit jacket. No sign of Simeone in City's play, though.
City are very clearly split into a five and a five without the ball. Five forwards pressing the Inter backline; five back on the halfway line to protect against the long ball from Onana.
The Inter keeper's ability to play accurate long passes is crucial to the way Inzaghi's side play and Guardiola is clearly trying to limit their effectiveness.
Corner kick for Inter, first chance of the match...
Dimarco plays it short to Barella but his curled cross is easily cleared.
Another foul on Stones, whose ability to play through the press is being severely tested in the opening stages.
Grealish is next, going down under a challenge from Brozovic. Inter are not giving City a second here.
Bit of handbags in the corner between Stones and Martinez after the Inter forward hassle Ederson for a high ball. The Argentinian World Cup winner's dogged running will be crucial for Inter tonight is they are to disrupt City's play.
Foul for Inter on the halfway line and an opportunity for them to take a breathe.
The Inter fans, however, will not be taking a breathe and they remain intent on belting out their support. There's an incredible noise from that side of the stadium, can they roar their team on to victory?
Just on Stones' positioning: He's starting on the right for City with Ake on the left. Akanji and Dias are playing as the two central defenders.
This is, of course, subject to Guardiolaism and it would not be a surprise to see them popping up elsewhere soon.
The most striking thing about the opening stages is just how high John Stones has been pushing up the pitch. He's not only higher than Rodri but seems to be ahead of Gundogan too, almost level with De Bruyne just behind the forwards.
If he keeps moving forward at this rate, Stone will start next season as a striker.
Close! Man City
A slick City passing move works the ball out to Silva on the right and the Portuguese winger darts in field, past Dimarco and into the box. He tries to curl one with his left but it goes just wide. Not by much though.
It might be a little direct, but it nearly got Erling Haaland in behind the Inter defence. The big Norwegian mistimed him run slightly and was called offside but he managed to find himself in a little bit of space there.
Not the best start for Inzaghi's men.
Surprisingly direct start from City here. Inter Milan are trying to unsettle Guardiola's side from the off and the Blues' backline has resorted to some pretty long ball stuff.
An earlier touch for Edin Dzeko, the former City player starting in the Champions League final at the age of 37. Should he score tonight, he will become the oldest player to score in the final of this competition.
And we're off
Champions League final 2022/23, is officially underway!
Here's the man who will be getting us going in Istanbul, Polish referee Szymon Marciniak...
Seconds to go now
Ok then, the players are out
There's just moments to go until kick off in the Champions League final. Both sets of players are out on the pitch in the fervent atmosphere of Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium.
In case you missed it earlier, here's how the two teams line up...
Man City XI: Ederson, Akanji, Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Haaland
Inter XI: Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Çalhanoglu, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lautaro Martínez
Look who's here!
For the first time since 2010, City owner Sheikh Mansour is in attendance for a Manchester City game. The promise of a historic treble and a first ever Champions League triumph is clearly enough to get him over to Europe for the occasion. What a tantalising game we have in store here.
And finally, it's Alesso!
We're now onto Swedish DJ and music producer Alesso, who will close out the pregame show at the Ataturk Stadium. He brings things to a mighty crescendo with a blare of euro-dance and flashing lights.
Big noise, big fireworks, and a big mist across the pitch to greet the players when they head out on to the pitch.
Right, music over. Pitch clearing in process. Let's have have football!
Next up, Anitta!
The Brazilian singer Anitta takes over from Burna Boy on stage. Controversially, perhaps, she's rocking a blue and black outfit for the occasion!
A secret Inter Milan fan? Who knows. It's certainly quite a show.
Silver-suited Burna Boy takes to the stage
Fireworks, dancers, flashing lights and a whole lot of pizazz! The Afro-beats star has taken over the stage with a stunning performance. This is a huge production from the Nigerian star and a truly sensational way to start the final.
There's going to be a football match on there in a few minutes!
Burna Boy up now with the pre-game show
What a spectacle for everyone in attendance tonight!
The stage is set...
What a venue for football! The Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul is primed for a thrilling Champions League final which will be decisive in both team's seasons.
For Manchester City, the Champions League is the promised land. For Inter Milan, a chance to return to the top table of European football.
There's now just 20 minutes until the scheduled kick-off for the Champions League final at the Ataturk Stadium. Last year there was considerable delay due to issues outside of the stadium and at one point it looked like something similar could unfold in Istanbul.
Earlier today City fans were seen travelling to the stadium on foot after traffic jams caused huge delays for taxi users. However the stadium has filled up nicely and it looks like everyone is in with plenty of time.
The game will kick off at the local time of 10pm, as scheduled.
City fans pack out the Ataturk Stadium
The Inter Milan fans certainly filled up their side of the stadium a little earlier, but the Manchester City contingent are in the house now and the Ataturk Stadium is readied for the Champions League final. The 74,000-capacity stadium was initially built to aid Turkey's unsuccessful bid to host the 2008 Olympic Games.
They were beaten by Beijing for that honour, but that stadium is a fitting venue for the Champions League final.
Erling Halaand eyes Champions League success
Ahead of the Champions League final, Erling Haaland spoke about his desperation to bring European success to Manchester City. This year's league title was the club's fifth in six seasons but the Champions League has always evaded them.
“City won the Premier League two times in a row, for example, before I came here – they know how to win the Premier League,” Haaland said. “The only thing they miss is the Champions League so you can think and read between the words and the lines. I am coming here for a reason.
The Norwegian continued: “Of course I feel pressure. I would lie if I said I didn’t. I’m here to try to do a thing that the club has never done before and I’ll do my best.”
The Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football and every single decision made by referee Szymon Marciniak will be poured over be supporters around the world.
The Polish official won't be on his own though. He will be assisted by a team of Video Assistant Referees (VAR) helping with decision-making in the Champions League final. Here's how it will work...
Lights, camera... Salt Bae
Of course! No elite football match is complete without an appearance from 'Butcher-to-the-stars' Salt Bae, sprinkling salty stardust over the occasion.
The chef and business mogul sparked a FIFA investigation after the 2022 World Cup final when he managed to worm his way onto the pitch to take pictures with a number of Argentina's winning players. Let's hope that he keeps his distance this time around.
Pep Guardiola speaks ahead of UCL final
Manchester City come into the game still searching for their first European triumph. They reached the final in 2020/21 but were beaten by Premier League rivals Chelsea in Portugal. Ahead of today's game, Guardiola was asked what affect that experience had had on the side.
"I hope so, but I don't know. Experiences must be learn but sometimes you don't learn it, it's just a football game," Guardiola said, when asked if his team was wiser after defeat to Chelsea in 2021.
What are the teams for the UCL final?
In case you missed it, here's the starting XIs for the Champions League final between Manchester City and Inter Milan. Both managers had big decisions to make and there are a couple of surprises in the two sides.
Pep Guardiola has opted not to start Kyle Walker, the lightening-fast full back who performed so well agaisnt Real Madrid. In his place, Pep goes with Manuel Akanji on the right of the defence.
For Inter, Simone Inzaghi has decided to leave Mkhitaryan on the bench and play Marcelo Brozovic in the middle instead.
Will the Champions League final be delayed?
Last year's Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid was delayed by nearly 45 minutes due to poor organisation on the part of French officials. This time around UEFA will be desperate to avoid a repeat but there have been reports of huge traffic jams in Istanbul that is making it difficult for fans arriving by car.
There were a number of videos on social media showing City fans walking to the stadium having abandoned their taxis. However at this stage it looks like everyone will be able to get to the stadium in time and there will be no need to delay kick off for the final.
We'll keep you up to date on developments from around the Ataturk Stadium...
There's just an hour to go until kick off now and the Ataturk Stadium is filling up nicely. We will, of course, be bringing you full live coverage from the Champions League final here at AS USA, but you can also watch or stream all the action.
If you're in the United States, here's how you can watch or stream Manchester City vs Inter Milan...
What a noise from the Inter support!
Few expected Inter Milan, a rather ramshackle band of players past their prime, to make it to the final of the Champions League this season. They have failed to find consistency in the league but Simone Inzaghi's cup specialists have thrived in the big games and now find themselves just 90 minutes from history.
The Inter Milan fans are clearly keen to savour every moment and had started to fill up their end of the Ataturk Stadium hours before kick off. What an atmosphere we have tonight!
Edin Dzeko looks to make history against his former side
Inter Milan booked their place in the Champions League final with a comprehensive 3-0 aggregate victory over city rivals AC Milan in the semi-final. Inter were set on their way by an early first leg goal from Edin Dzeko, the Bosnian striker who used to play for Manchester City.
Dzeko scored against AC Milan at the age of 37 years and 54 days, making him the fifth-oldest player to score a goal in the Champions League. If he scores against his former team, City, he will break the record for the oldest scorer in a Champions League final.
The current record is held by AC Milan legend Paulo Maldini, who scored at the age of 36 years and 333 days against Liverpool in 2005. That game ended in tears for the Italian, however, after Liverpool staged a stirring comeback to win the trophy on penalties.
Dzeko is now 37 years and 85 days and he will be hoping to channel a little of Maldini from 18 years previous. Strangely enough, both this year’s final and the 2005 edition take place in the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.
It was no surprise to see that Erling Haaland will lead the line for Manchester City tonight, despite coming into the final on a comparatively poor run of goal-scoring form. The Norwegian sensation has hit 50 goals in all competitions this season but just once in his past six matches.
Nevertheless, Haaland has helped to fire City to the Champions League final in his debut season at the club. We take a look at the numbers...
Confirmation of the Champions League final lineups
So here's how the two teams line up this evening. The big talking point is the absence of Kyle Walker, so impressive in the semi-final against Real Madrid, from the City starting XI. For Inter Milan, former City striker Edin Dzeko starts up front.
Man City XI: Ederson, Akanji, Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, Gundogan (C), De Bruyne, Bernardo, Grealish, Haaland
Inter XI: Onana; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Çalhanoglu, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lautaro Martínez
And here's the City starting XI
Will Pep Guardiola overthink it? No, it doesn't look like he has as he names the team that has dominated the Premier League in recent months.
The only slight surprise is the omission of Kyle Walker from the defence, Pep opting for Akanji and Ake instead.
Inter Milan team news confirmed
Here's how Simone Inzaghi's side line up for the final today! No major changes for Inter this evening, Brozovic starts ahead of Mkhitaryan in midfield and captains the Italian side.
What time is the Champions League final kick off?
Soccer fans from all around the world will be tuning in to tonight's game between Manchester City and Inter Milan. The game will begin at 10pm local time in Turkey, here's when kick off is wherever you are...
Jamie Carragher reflects on UCL glory days
Today's final will be held in the Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul. It's the largest stadium in Turkey and was once the site for one of the most famous games in Champions League history.
Jamie Carragher was part of the Liverpool side that lifted the trophy back in 2005 with a stunning victory over AC Milan. Liverpool were 3-0 down at half time but managed an incredible comeback to become European champions. A happy memory for Jamie, clearly.
What is the biggest win in a Champions League final?
The final of European club football’s flagship competition is often considered to be the highest standard of football played anywhere in the world. Whether in the Champions League or its predecessor, the European Cup, the chance to be crowned European champion is an opportunity that few players get in their careers.
Sometimes, however, the final can turn into something of a mismatch as one team runs riot. Manchester City are considered the strong favourites against an Inter Milan side who have struggled for consistency in Serie A this season.
The biggest game in European club football has finished with a four-goal winning margin on four separate occasions, and a Milan team has been on the winning side in two of them…
7-3 Real Madrid vs Frankfurt (1960)
4-0 Bayern vs Atlético (1974)
4-0 AC Milan vs Steaua (1989)
4-0 AC Milan vs Barcelona (1994)
Sharp-eyed soccer fans will have noticed something odd about Inter Milan's shirts during their run to the Champions League final. In the early stages they wore shirts emblazoned with the name of cryptocurrency firm 'DigitalBits'.
In the semi-final against AC Milan they wore plain shirts with no sponsor, and in preparation for the final against Manchester City the name of 'Paramount+' has been added to the jerseys.
We take a look at why this has happened, and how much Inter stand to make from this final alone...
It's heating up in Istanbul
For man observers Inter Milan go into the Champions League final as underdogs, but their passionate fanbase will be confident of pulling off a surprise victory. The Nerazzuri have reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2010 and are certainly making the most of their return to the top table of European football.
There's less than two hours until kick off at the Ataturk Stadium and the atmosphere is really getting going now!
It is, undoubtedly, one of the hottest tickets in the world of sport. The Champions League final is often viewed as the pinnacle of the club game and the highest quality football match available to watch anywhere.
For this reason, tickets for UEFA's flagship club event can go for some eye-watering amounts. As supporters of Manchester City and Inter Milan begin to take their seats in the Ataturk Stadium, we take a look at how much tickets for the Champions League final look?
The fans are starting to arrive at the Ataturk Stadium, and that's not all. The coveted Champions League trophy has just arrived at the stadium in the Turkish capital and both sets of players will be desperate to get their hands on the iconic award.
Which captain will be lifting it later this evening?
Manchester City fans pass police checkpoints
After the fiasco of the 2021/22 final, UEFA will be desperate to ensure that this year's Champions League final goes off without a hitch. Last year Liverpool fans were caught up in a series of bottle-necks and excessively stringent policing, forcing UEFA to delay the start of the game.
Liverpool fans, trying to enter the stadium legally, were hit with pepper spray by overly officious police and many reported being squashed into tight areas.
UEFA promised major improvement for this year's final and it looks like things are going well so far. We'll keep you updated from the Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul.
There's less than three hours to go until kick off in the Champions League final and fans of Manchester City and Inter Milan are already starting to take their place for the spectacle. This year's final will be hosted in the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey.
The iconic venue was also the site for one of the most famous Champions League finals of all time, Liverpool's astonishing victory over AC Milan in 2004/05. The stadium is the largest in Turkey and has a fascinating back story.
Our very own Paul Reidy has the lowdown on the Atatürk Olympic Stadium...
DJ Marietto gets the Inter fans going
The Italian contingent are also making themselves heard in the Turkish capital, enjoying their side's first appearance in a Champions League final since their glorious treble-winning campaign in 2009/10. This time around it is their opponents, Manchester City, who are on the bring of a famous treble.
However the Nerazzuri are a fierce proposition when it comes to one-off cup fixtures and in the likes of Eden Dzeko have the big game experience to cause anyone problems.
City fans in good voice in Istabul
Is this their year? It's been more than a decade since Manchester City were first crowned Premier League champions but European success has evaded them throughout that time. At various points under Pep Guardiola City have looked like the best, most complete team in Europe but they have contrived to fall just short in Europe.
This time, however, with Erling Haaland spearheading the attack, City fans are confident that they can finally break their UCL duck. The City support are out in force in the Turkish capital, will they still be in high spirits by the end of the night?
There's a little over three hours to go until kick off in Istanbul! I'm Will Gittins and I'll be taking over live feed duties for the rest of the evening.
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City go into the game as clear favourite to not only lift the Champions League, but to secure a famous treble. However Inter Milan have transformed into a cup-winning machine under Simone Inzaghi and will look to add to the Coppa Italia triumph from earlier this month.
We'll bring you all the latest team news from the Ataturk Stadium as soon as we have it.
City and Inter cross swords for first time
Today's final will be Manchester City and Inter's first ever meeting in European competition, incidentally.
The teams have met in a couple of pre-season friendlies, but never in a competitive match.
(Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)
This year's pre-Champions League final entertainment will be provided by Nigerian rapper Burna Boy, who will be performing shortly before kick-off at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
Inter show off UCL final shirt
Here is the shirt that Inter’s players will be wearing today. As I mentioned earlier, both the Italians and Manchester City will be in their home kits, despite the two teams wearing all-blue or partly blue shirts.
Paramount+ will be Inter’s sponsor, after the Nerazzurri reached a last-minute deal for the streaming service to replace DigitalBits. Paramount+ was also Inter’s main sponsor for their final game of the Serie A season, a 1-0 win over Torino last Saturday.
Manchester City fans in Istanbul ahead of today's Champions League final.
(Photo: REUTERS/Kemal Aslan)
Who are the European Cup's most successful players?
Bale's haul of four European Cup winners' medals leaves him joint-third on the list of the competition's most decorated players.
Real Madrid great Paco Gento (pictured) sits top of the pile, with six. Overall, it's a list dominated by Madrid players, and one that also features a couple of legends at Inter's city rivals AC Milan.
AS's Alejandro Martín has the lowdown on the European Cup/Champions League's most successful individuals.
(Photo: LARRU/DIARIO AS)
Bale predicts crushing City win
Four-time Champions League winner Gareth Bale, the scorer of one of the great final goals, is backing Manchester City to take the trophy today.
Indeed, he believes City are going to thump Inter 5-0! Unless I'm very much mistaken, that would be the biggest European Cup final win ever. We've had a few that have been settled by four-goal margins - such as Real Madrid 7-3 Frankfurt and Milan 4-0 Barcelona - but no five-goal triumphs.
Pre-match quotes: Inter boss Inzaghi
UCL final "dream":
“For us it was a dream but we have always believed in it. I'm proud to be here. Nobody has given us anything, we deserve everything that we have achieved.”
Beating city rivals AC Milan in semis:
“It has been an extraordinary path and winning a derby in the semi-final brought particular satisfaction."
Inzaghi's final flourish
While Manchester City are overwhelming favourites tonight, it should be noted that they are coming up against a coach who has a magnificent record in finals.
Simone Inzaghi has won seven out of eight, and has been victorious in all four finals he has taken Inter to so far.
Since Inzaghi has been Nerazzurri boss, he has steered the side to two straight Coppa Italia wins, as well as consecutive Supercoppa triumphs.
Pre-match quotes: City boss Guardiola
"Obsession" with winning UCL:
"It is absolutely a dream, yeah. Absolutely a dream. To achieve things you always have to have the correct portion of obsession and desire. Obsession is a positive word and we will try to do it. It’s a dream for us."
City favourites for title:
"In the end, it’s a football game, and whoever does it best in 95 minutes will win. If we look at the history of the two teams, Inter are bigger than us."
Haaland run of one goal in seven:
"I’m not here to talk about Haaland not scoring goals! If you have doubts about that then you are the only person. I don’t have any doubts, tomorrow he will be ready to help us win the UCL."
"He reminds me of Cristiano and Messi" - Rodri on Haaland
Speaking to AS, this is what Haaland's City team-mate Rodri had to say about the Norwegian:
"To start with, he’s 22 years old, which people sometimes forget, and his concerns are those of a 22-year-old guy. But he’s super normal. He has the character and the mental and physical ability to always be on top form. That allows him to maintain his composure on the pitch. Plus, he’s a winner, he’s so when playing with his ‘I’m coming for you’ and ‘I’m back’... He reminds me a bit of what we saw with Cristiano and Messi. That hunger: “I want another goal, and another, and another”. The best part about that is not the goals, it’s the spirit that emanates from him. Having players of that style makes a difference."
(Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images)
Erling Haaland is on slight barren run in front of goal, having netted just once in his last seven in all competitions. However, he heads into his first ever Champions League final with an overall tournament scoring record that is quite something. The 22-year-old has racked up 35 goals in 29 career UCL games, including 12 in 10 for Manchester City this season.
He's needed fewer appearances than any other player to reach 35 goals, and it's a haul that means he has already risen to 18th in the Champions League's all-time scoring charts.
Erling Haaland trains for Manchester City on Friday, ahead of today's Champions League final.
(Photo: EFE/EPA/SEDAT SUNA)
City and Inter to sport home kits
Both sides will be in their home kits today, by the way.
Inter are the designated ‘away’ team, but it has been confirmed that they will be in their traditional blue and black stripes, with black shorts and socks. UEFA has allowed the Nerazzurri to avoid having to don a change kit, despite a slight clash with Manchester City's colours.
As the ‘home’ team, City automatically get to play in their first-choice sky blue.
Manchester City supporters warm up for today's Champions League final outside a pub in Istanbul on Friday.
(Photo: Umit Turhan Coskun / AFP)
Third time lucky for UCL final venue
Today's venue, the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, will host the Champions League final for the second time in its history.
The Istanbul arena was also the stage for Liverpool's memorable 2005 triumph over AC Milan, in which the Reds recovered from a 3-0 half-time deficit to lift the European Cup for the fifth time.
The Atatürk hosts the final this year having twice been dropped as the venue over covid-19, in both 2020 and 2021.
(Photo: Paul ELLIS / AFP)
And while I'm recommending pieces to read, let me also point you in the direction of our interview with Manchester City midfielder Rodri.
The Spaniard talks to my colleague Aritz Gabilondo about beating Real Madrid, City’s style of play, goal-machine extraordinaire Erling Haaland, and what it would mean to win the Champions League and the treble.
Inter: the dangermen
On the subject of Inter's starting line-up, can I recommend this piece by the Guardian's Italian soccer expert Nicky Bandini, who looks at the underdogs' five key players.
Inter team news
For Inter, who can be expected to line up in Istanbul in their trusty 3-5-2 formation, a major question mark revolves around the identity of Lautaro Martínez's strike partner. Former Manchester City man Edin Dzeko, or ex-United player Romelu Lukaku?
(Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP)
Inter Milan fans in Istanbul's Taksim Square ahead of today's Champions League final.
(Photo: EFE/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK)
Manchester City team news
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has acquired a reputation as a 'tinkerman'. Memorably, he raised eyebrows in 2021's Champions League final defeat to Chelsea by benching both his recognised holding midfielders at the time, Rodri and Fernandinho.
Today, however, Guardiola is set to stick with the first-choice line-up that has been motoring along so very nicely indeed. With no suspensions and only one minor injury doubt - Kyle Walker - City are expected to be unchanged from their thumping two-legged victory over Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
(Photo: REUTERS/Matthew Childs TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Manchester City fans enjoy the nightlife in Istanbul on Friday.
(Photo by Umit Turhan Coskun / AFP)
Today’s match referee will be the Pole Szymon Marciniak, who takes charge of his first major European club final.
Marciniak was also the man in the middle for the World Cup final in December, and refereed Atlético Madrid’s 2018 UEFA Super Cup win over Real Madrid.
There was speculation that the 42-year-old could be stripped of his Champions League final appointment after it emerged that he had spoken at a buinsess event organised by Polish far-right leader Slawomir Mentzen. However, after a UEFA investigation, Marciniak has remained in place for today’s clash in Istanbul.
Guardiola's UCL record: an in-depth look back
On the subject of Pep Guardiola's Champions League achievements as a coach, you might be interested in this piece by my colleague Andy Hall, who looks over the Catalan's track record in the competition.
Guardiola out to emulate Zidane, Paisley
If Manchester City win the trophy today, by the way, Pep Guardiola will become the joint-second most successful coach in the history of the European Cup/Champions League.
It would be Guardiola’s third European title as a coach, having previously led Barcelona to Champions League success in 2009 and 2011.
This would take him level with Zinedine Zidane and Bob Paisley: Zidane led Real Madrid to the Champions League title in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and Paisley managed Liverpool to three continental crowns in 1977, 1978, 1981.
Currently, the only man who has four European Cups is Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian has won the Champions League twice each with AC Milan, in 2003 and 2007, and Madrid, in 2014 and 2022.
(Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
As for Inter, it's rather longer since they were last in a Champions League final. Until this season, indeed, they hadn't been beyond the quarter-finals since winning the trophy under José Mourinho in 2010.
Diego Milito was the star of the show for Inter 13 years ago, as the Italians secured the only league, cup and European Cup treble in their history.
AS USA's Fidel Rubio casts his mind back to the climax of the 2009/10 Champions League.
As I mentioned earlier, Manchester City's previous experience of the Champions League final was not an altogether positive one.
Pep Guardiola's men were also favourites against Chelsea two years ago - albeit not quite so overwhelmingly - but Kai Havertz had other plans.
AS USA's Paul Reidy looks back on City's 2021 Champions League final defeat.
Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi (centre) watches on as the Nerazzurri go through their paces in Istanbul on Friday.
(Photo: REUTERS/Murad Sezer)
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (centre) talks to his players during training at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium on Friday.
(Photo: REUTERS/Murad Sezer)
Opta also backing City for win
Soccer stats specialists Opta agree with the bookmakers on Inter’s odds of lifting their fourth European title today. The Opta Analyst computer has calculated the Italians’ chance of victory at just 16.4%. Manchester City, meanwhile, are given a 64.6% likelihood of victory in Istanbul.
It’s been a while since we had a UCL final in which one team was as heavily fancied as Manchester City are today. Indeed, the US betting houses have Inter all the way out at +600 to beat the Premier League champions.
The finalists' 22/23 UCL stories so far
Courtesy of our colleagues at SofaScore, here’s an at-a-glance look at Man City and Inter’s Champions League campaigns so far.
City’s passage through the knockout stages has been really rather emphatic: their two-legged triumphs over RB Leipzig, Bayern and Real Madrid featured 7-0, 3-0 and 4-0 home victories, respectively.
Inter, meanwhile, have been all about the clean sheets in the knockout stages. Simone Inzaghi’s men have registered defensive shut-outs in five out of their six games since the group stage.
If you're wondering how where can tune in to today's final on TV or online, let me point you in the direction of our guide on how to watch.
Inter after first UCL title in 13 years
As for Inter, who head into today’s final as massive underdogs, they’ll be attempting to win the fourth European crown in their history.
The Nerazzurri previously won the European Cup in 1964, 1965 and 2010.
(Photo: MICHAEL REGAN/UEFA/EFE)
City chasing treble
Beaten finalists in 2021, Manchester City are bidding to banish the memories of that defeat to Chelsea and win their first European title.
If they beat Inter in Istanbul today, Pep Guardiola’s men will also become only the second English team to do a league, cup and European Cup treble, emulating the 1998/99 exploits of city rivals Manchester United.
(Photo: EFE/EPA/SEDAT SUNA)
Manchester City vs Inter build-up: welcome!
Good morning, and a happy Champions League Final Day to you. At 3pm ET, Manchester City and Inter Milan will do battle for the European title at Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Kick-off in the Turkish capital may be a little under 11 hours away, but we have plenty to talk about between now and then.