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Written By: Natasha Turkington Natasha Turkington was born and bred in Manchester, and is considered one of soccer’s most prolific and knowledgeable fans. Follow her on Twitter at @natashaturk. I have been nursing a broken heart since the final whistle was blown in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium last Saturday afternoon. The familiar high pitch tone which has resulted in euphoria for me as a Manchester United fan so many times over the last 25 years, felt like a dagger in my chest as United’s fierce rival’s and ‘noisy neighbours’ were crowned as double-winning Champions.

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As if conceding a goal inside 13 seconds of the FA Cup final kick off wasn’t bad enough, my heartbreak is set to become even worse; Manchester City have one last bit of business to take care of, the Champions League Final this Saturday night, June 10th in Istanbul. Italian giants, Inter Milan are all that stand in Manchester City’s way of a historic treble win after what has already been a historic season. If Pep Guardiola’s side beat Internazionale they will become only the second English side to claim the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup in a single season. Manchester City right-back, Kyle Walker said his team’s attempt to claim the treble is being driven by the desire to emulate my beloved Manchester United’s incredible team of 1999. Doing so would equal Sir Alex Ferguson’s triumph of 24 years ago and the quality of Arsenal Invincibles in 2003-04, who were unbeaten in the Premier League.

Manchester City

As painful as it is for me to admit, Manchester City are by some distance the best team in world soccer, no question; Pep Guardiola’s squad oozes sublime quality from top to bottom and back around again. Players such as Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodrigo, John Stones, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Dias and let’s not forget goal scoring machine, Erling Haaland, are to name just a selection of tremendous talent available at Pep’s finger tips. To the majority of soccer fraternity around the world it feels as though it will be a breeze for Manchester City to turn up in Istanbul pass the ball around, score a plethora of goals and casually lift the ultimate prize in domestic soccer.

Inter Milan

However, I am not as sure (or at least I hope!) it will be as straight-forward as it appears on paper come Saturday night. Inter Milan finished third in Serie A this season with manager Simone Inzaghi in the driving seat. It may be Inzaghi’s first Champions League final, but this is far from his first cup final rodeo. In fact, few in European football can boast a better record in these scenarios than the Inter Milan manager. The Italian has won all seven of his cup finals with Lazio and Inter which has earned his nickname “King of the Cups”- and most of his finals saw his side go into the game as underdogs. Inter found their form towards the end of the season having dropped to 16th position in the table across five games before game week 30. I do not think even the most die-hard Inter Milan fan could have predicted they would see their team progress all the way to the Champions League Final. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez (or, LuLa as they have been affectionately coined by fans) have been pivotal to the Nerazzurri’s revival, Lukaku’s resurgence, in particular, will be key at the weekend. Goals win games. The 2022/23 Inter Milan side look as though they are designed to produce their best in big games and this is THE biggest of games. The city of Manchester is a nauseating shade of blue at the moment. I am praying Inter Milan can spoil the treble party, if they do you will find me celebrating with pizza, pasta, gelato and buckets full of prosecco!

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As it stands, the Champions League Final odds are as follows: Manchester City: -220 Inter Milan: +550 *Odds subject to change


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