Sports, Football

Guardiola closes in on silencing critics for good

Published : 07 Jun 2023 07:21 PM | Updated : 07 Jun 2023 07:21 PM

Manchester City are on the brink of a historic treble as Pep Guardiola targets Champions League vindication in Saturday's final against Inter Milan.

Inter stand in the way of City matching the greatest ever achievement in English football by emulating Manchester United's class of 1998/99 in winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season.

For Guardiola, meanwhile, a moment of personal validation awaits in Istanbul after his 12-year drought in the competition. The Catalan is widely regarded as the greatest coach of his generation with 11 league titles to his name in just 14 seasons in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.

But since winning the Champions League in 2011 for the second time in his first three years at Barca, Guardiola has suffered a series of agonising European exits. After losing a dramatic semi-final to Chelsea in his final year at the Camp Nou, Guardiola's three years at Bayern were marred by three more defeats in the last four.

At City, it took five tries just to break the quarter-finals, but he again fell just short in the final to Chelsea two years ago. A miraculous late fightback from Real Madrid in last season's semi-final inflicted more heartbreak on City.