When it comes to footballing dreams, they don’t come much bigger than reaching the Champions League final. Considered to be the biggest prize for any club side, nothing can match the glory and prestige of being crowned as the kings of Europe. That will be the target for both Manchester City and Chelsea, ahead of what promises to be a spectacular final.
Third time a charm for Chelsea?
This will be the third Champions League final appearance for Chelsea, who have experienced both joy and pain in the past, upon reaching this decisive stage of the competition. Likewise, the London club has forged a rich European pedigree over the last couple of decades, having also won the UEFA Europa League twice (2013 & 2019) during that period.
When they reached the 2008 Champions League final in Moscow, they were also pitted against another English side from Manchester as they faced Sir Alex Ferguson's United. That game ended in a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes plus extra time, after Cristiano Ronaldo had given United the lead and Frank Lampard netted the equalizer. Agonizingly, the Blues lost 6-5 on penalties.
The next opportunity for Champions League glory came in 2012, taking on Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. Coincidentally, the final was hosted at the home of their opponents, the Allianz Arena. Despite conceding a late Thomas Muller goal, Didier Drogba levelled the game right at the death. With the score at 1-1 after extra time, Drogba was once again the hero, scoring the winning penalty as Chelsea won the shootout.
Blue moon over the Bosporus?
Despite the rich history surrounding Manchester City, especially considering the domestic success achieved in recent years, this will be the first time the club has reached the Champions League final. That said, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying, with the ambition of winning the competition akin to their Holy Grail quest.
Since he took the managerial reins at City, iconic Spanish coach Pep Guardiola has always regarded this competition as his priority. Now they have reached the final, the latest Champions League odds of 49/100 place his team as the clear favorites to lift the famous trophy. However, 81/50 shots Chelsea will be no pushovers at the Istanbul final.
The last time Manchester City enjoyed continental success was back in 1970, when they lifted the now-defunct European Cup Winners Cup, beating Polish side Gornik Zabrze in Vienna. Just over five decades later, City fans will be praying for a blue moon over the iconic Bosporus Strait of Istanbul, with their team lifting the most famous trophy in club football.
Spending big for the top European prize
As two of the wealthiest club sides in the world, neither Chelsea nor Manchester City are frightened of spending big to realize their ambitions. Roman Abramovich invested heavily following his takeover of Chelsea in 2003, rewarded with their first Champions League final appearance within five years of his arrival. They won the competition within less than a decade.
When the Abu Dhabi Group led by Sheikh Mansour acquired Manchester City in 2008, they had similar ambitions. However, the target of becoming Europe’s top side has arguably taken longer than originally hoped, with Champions League glory always just beyond reach. Now they are in the final at long last, City will be hoping to show that all that investment was worthwhile, if it can secure the most prestigious title in European club football.
Whichever of these two sides eventually lifts the Champions League trophy in Istanbul, hopefully, all the spending on talented players will make this an unmissable spectacle for fans to watch.Back to the Premier League Newsfeed