Manchester City won’t be hampered by any major absentees for their Champions League date with destiny on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola’s 23-man squad for their final with Inter Milan has been revealed, with Spanish boss and his players and staff touching down in Istanbul tonight (Thursday) amid their bid to complete the final leg of their treble. The party left the City Football Academy for Manchester Airport by coach earlier in the day with club staff and fans lining the roads and waving flags.
Guardiola will oversee training at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium on Friday, and notably Kyle Walker will be there having sparked fears over his fitness after missing Tuesday’s sessio n. Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva have also both been passed fit after picking up minor knocks in City’s FA Cup final win over Man United.
And club owner Sheikh Mansour isn’t just laying on travel for the players themselves, with families and friends boarding their own private flight to Istanbul. Some players have booked private jets for loved ones but the majority, including Jack Grealish ’s parents, siblings, and close friend Ollie Priestley will be taking the club up on their offer, with a club source saying: “Jack and the others like the idea of the families being together. They’re staying in a hotel close to the team’s official one.”
Guardiola was handed a bouquet of flowers as the team touched down, and has this week acknowledged the game will define his legacy at the club: “We must accept that if we want to make a definitive step as a big club, we must win in Europe,” he said.
“We have to win the Champions League – that’s something you can’t avoid. Sooner or later, we have to win in Europe to go to another level. The important thing is to be there again and again and again.”
And De Bruyne has insisted there is no anxiety in the ranks, insisting: “We try to win every game possible. Sometimes you’re not good enough and another team is better than you and you have to accept it.
“That’s happened in the past, when other teams won against us. We know how big the moment is, but I feel the more relaxed you are as a team – and the team is doing pretty well with that at the moment – you get a better chance.”
Manchester City squad: Ederson, Ortega, Carson; Ake, Akanji, Dias, Stones, Laporte, Walker, Lewis, Gomez; Rodri, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Phillips, Perrone, Grealish, Foden, Mahrez, Palmer, Haaland, Alvarez.