2023 Uefa Champions League final
- Who: Manchester City (Eng) vs. Inter (Ita)
- When: Saturday 10 June 2023
- Where: Atatürk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey
- Time: 8pm kick-off (BST)
- Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
- TV coverage: BT Sport
- Radio coverage: BBC Radio 5 Live Sport
Two down, one to go. After winning the FA Cup on Saturday, adding the trophy to this season’s Premier League title, Manchester City will head to Istanbul for this weekend’s Uefa Champions League final looking to complete a historic treble. Standing in their way are Italian side Inter, who City will face at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
If Pep Guardiola’s men finally claim European club football’s biggest prize they will match the achievement of rivals Manchester United, who in 1999 became the first and only English club to have won the Premier League-FA Cup-Champions League treble. Should the Champions League dream become a reality for City, their status as one of the best sides in history will at that point be beyond dispute.
City secured their place in the final after beating holders Real Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final. Inter defeated city rivals AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate to progress to the Istanbul showpiece.
The ‘Holy Grail’ for City
The Citizens have “dominated” English football under Guardiola, but the European Cup has “continued to elude them”, said Joe Brophy on talkSPORT. They will make “one last push for glory” in Istanbul and “few will bet against them finally claiming their Holy Grail”, said Phil McNulty on BBC Sport. The “big question” is do Inter have enough to stop City emulating United’s treble of 1999?
Since the Abu Dhabi United Investment Group acquired Man City in 2008, the club has been “transformed” from “mid-table mediocracy” to a “global footballing powerhouse”, said Felix Richter on Statista. However, City’s success has “always been eyed with suspicion”, as it “wouldn’t have been possible without the financial muscle of its Emirati owners”. The success has also come at a “high price”. Despite a net transfer spend of a “whopping” €1.45bn since 2008, the club has only reached one Champions League final – in 2021 where they lost 1-0 to Premier League rivals Chelsea.
City will go to Istanbul as big favourites to win the game. But until they actually get their hands on the trophy can they be ranked as a giant of European football. Speaking after the FA Cup final, Guardiola admitted that “now is the first time we can talk about the treble”. He said: “We have done incredible, five Premier Leagues, two FA Cups and Carabaos but we have to win the Champions League to be recognised how the team deserves to be. It has been amazing, been fun, but we have to win it.” City’s Spanish midfielder Rodri added: “I think Pep said that you will not be ‘big, big’ if you don’t win in Europe. It’s the exam we have to pass.”
Kick-off time and live coverage
The Champions League final between Man City and Inter will kick-off at 8pm (BST) on Saturday 10 June. BT Sport will show exclusive live coverage on its 1HD and Ultimate channels and the broadcaster will also show the match free-to-air via its mobile and TV app, online at btsport.com/final, on Virgin and its YouTube channel. BT Sport’s build-up to the final will begin at 6pm. BBC Radio 5 Live Sport will have live commentary from the Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
This is the second Champions League final to be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Located in the Başakşehir area of Istanbul, west of the Bosphorus, the stadium boasts a seated capacity of more than 75,000. The Atatürk previously hosted the classic final between Liverpool and AC Milan in 2005. Dubbed the “miracle of Istanbul”, Liverpool came back from 3-0 down at half-time to draw 3-3 before going on to lift the trophy after a penalty shoot-out.
Early pundit predictions
According to FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings, City have a 75% chance of winning the final compared to Inter’s 25%. “Ultimately”, however, the final “isn’t a lock” for City by any means even if they are the favourites, said Paul Kasabian on Bleacher Report. Inter could come out and “play the game of their lives”, or City could “struggle mightily”. Anything can happen in a single match. On paper, the guess is that City will win “comfortably” as they are “simply too good everywhere on the pitch”. The pick is for City to win 3-1.
There are “plenty of neutrals” who will want to see this “sensational City side” get the recognition they deserve, said Ali Tweedale on Opta Analyst. “Fair enough”, but then there will “also be a good number” who will want to see “something other than a Manchester City procession”. Is there “any chance” for Inter? “In all honesty, quite possibly not.” However, City have shown on a few occasions this season that they aren’t “completely infallible”.
It’s not just the pundits and data experts who have had their say on Saturday’s final – but also players from rival clubs. At last weekend’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold both “revealed their predictions”, The Sun reported. Mbappe believes the final will be a “great game” and he thinks that City “are going to win”. Alexander-Arnold “appeared to agree” and told Sky Sports: “I think Man City are always the favourites for everything!”
According to Oddschecker, City are the heavy favourites to lift the Champions League trophy on Saturday. The English side are priced at 1/2 to win the final, Inter are 13/2 and the draw is 19/5. With 52 goals in his debut season at City, including 12 in the Champions League, Erling Haaland is priced at 12/5 to score the first goal in the final. The prolific Norwegian striker is also priced at 14/1 to net a hat-trick. All prices as of 5 June.