Man City reach Champions League final

Sports Desk,
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photo: collected

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Manchester City stand 90 minutes away from glory and the trophy that has been in their sights since the day the club was transformed in September 2008.

The Champions League has always been the ultimate destination for City's Abu Dhabi-based hierarchy from the moment they arrived to shake up the natural order of the Premier League and turn the club Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson dismissively described as "noisy neighbours" into a genuine European superpower, reports BBC.

It has been, some would say in typical Manchester City fashion, a Champions League road littered with bumps, mishaps and hard-luck stories, but two superb performances to dismiss the dangerous Paris St-Germain 4-1 on aggregate means they will meet either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final in Istanbul on 29 May.

The celebrations at the final whistle told the story as one psychological barrier was cleared, with one more hurdle left to negotiate before they can claim the holy grail.

It all started back on that day 13 years ago when City's new owners served notice of intent by pinching Brazil superstar Robinho from under Chelsea's nose for £32.5m, tried to steal Dimitar Berbatov away from Manchester United and even threatened to make their city rivals - tongue-in-cheek or not - an offer they could not refuse for Cristiano Ronaldo. They may not have succeeded but the ambition was limitless.

That was the day the landscape of English football changed.

There was plenty of talk. And nights like the one they can now contemplate in Istanbul was where they wanted to take Manchester City from day one.

The ambition was seen in full effect when they effectively built a house at Etihad Stadium waiting for their perfect resident in their ideal manager. They put the pieces in place with former Barcelona pair Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano in readiness for their ultimate coup, the appointment of Pep Guardiola, who had won the Champions League twice at the Nou Camp.

Guardiola has not proved to be the magic bullet in Europe despite his spectacular work domestically. A third Premier League title will be confirmed if they beat Chelsea on Saturday, a fourth successive League Cup was won against Tottenham and they secured the FA Cup in 2019 as well.

The failure to land the Champions League has been the one cloud on the horizon, Guardiola's City reaching the last 16 in 2016-17 but falling at the quarter-final stage in the past three seasons.