Kevin De Bruyne struggled to hold back the tears after being forced off in the second half of the Champions League final. The Belgian suffered an immediate black eye after being knocked off his feet by Antonio Rudiger in an unfortunate coming together between the two players.
De Bruyne had endured a difficult evening after struggling to find his rhythm against Chelsea’s dogged midfield.
And with City pressing hard for an equaliser, you just wondered whether this was going to be their night after De Bruyne hit the deck.
As he tried to make a run off the ball, Rudiger stopped him in his tracks.
In doing so, both players fell to the deck in what looked a nasty collision in real-time.
“For Kai, I was so happy,” Tuchel said. “It would have been nice in the moment to have gone 2-0 up though!
“It’s so hard to defend, there was deflected shots, throw ins, long balls but we got out the other side.
“It was very intense on the sideline, very fast. It was a tough match to step in, step out constantly and not lose your shape.”
Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount added: “I can’t put it into words. It’s impossible. I just mentioned then that I’ve played in two finals for Chelsea and we lost them both. The way that hurt… It’s all I’ve dreamt winning a trophy with Chelsea. To go all the way in the Champions League.
Chelsea and Manchester City are about to go head-to-head in the Champions League final.
The all-English Champions League final kicks off at 8pm BST on the evening of May 29.
As an added bonus, the game will be shown in full on the BT Sports YouTube channel. You can check it out at this link.
In the run up to the big game, FIFA fans have been having fun predicting the result using the latest release.
In a new video by Beatdown Gaming x Veloce, the YouTuber pits Chelsea against Manchester City in a bid to see who will emerge victorious.
“Check out this brand new next-gen FIFA 21 gameplay of the 2021 UEFA Champions League final, recorded in 60fps on PS5 by Beatdown Gaming with the AI difficulty set to Legendary,” reads the video prediction.
“In this full match prediction Manchester City take on Chelsea at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium!”
Interestingly, the same channel (using the same settings) successfully predicted the outcome of the FA Cup Final, where Leicester edged out Chelsea 1-0.
You can watch the Champions League Final simulation below.
As you can see from the video above, Manchester City are predicted to come out on top.
The video shows Manchester City going ahead after 20 minutes through a Kevin de Bruyne goal.
Chelsea are tipped to equalise around 15 minutes later, leading to a 1-1 scoreline for halftime.
Unfortunately for Thomas Tuchel’s side, Man City are predicted to score two goals in the closing stages, resulting in a 3-1 victory for the team from Manchester.
With Manchester City favourites to win in real life, this seems like a fairly plausible scoreline.
The actual game will be played in front of around 16,500 fans in Portugal’s Estadio do Dragao.
Chelsea have appeared in two Champions League finals, losing to Manchester United on penalties in 2008, before beating Bayern Munich on penalties to win the competition in 2012.
Tonight marks the first time Manchester City have appeared in the Champions League final, having been knocked out in the quarter finals for the past three seasons.
Pep Guardiola’s side are favourite to win this year’s competition, especially after comfortably winning the Premier League.
“It is a different team and a very different situation,” Tuchel said on Friday ahead of the final.
“If I was a player, I wouldn’t like my coach to talk about his personal experience in the last year. If I was a player, that would only help me if we had that experience together that we could share, use and grow from it.
“But, for me and my staff, the experience is a crucial thing. After every match I am a smarter coach with more experience.
“A big thank you to everyone at BT Sport, both in front of the camera and behind. You’re one hell of a team. It’s been a joy working with you. Well played.”
Rio Ferdinand, who usually appears as a pundit on BT’s coverage, replied to send his support to Lineker.
The former Manchester United defender tweeted: “Been an honour to share the stage with you! One more Last Dance (Until this summer),” along with a laughing emoji, referencing their upcoming work at the European Championships.
Lineker responded: “Cheers Rio. You’re a delight to work with.”
Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson produced a moment of sheer brilliance in training ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against Chelsea. Ederson put his fellow goalkeeper David De Gea to shame by drilling a penalty into the top corner.
City are clearly preparing for any eventuality ahead of the Champions League final.
The newly-crowned Premier League champions will take on Chelsea in Porto on Saturday night, and will aim to better their arch rivals’ result from Wednesday night.
City saw their cross-town rivals Manchester United suffer an embarrassing defeat against Villareal on Wednesday.
After a tense 1-1 draw in normal time and a goalless half-hour of extra time, the match went to penalties with every outfield player scoring.
That led to the two goalkeepers being forced to switch roles and take penalties themselves, with Geronimo Rulli firing past De Gea with his effort.
Then, as De Gea stepped up, he saw his shot saved by his opposite number with relative ease, as Villareal players celebrated an unlikely win.
And it seems City are planning to avoid a repeat of United’s defeat, with Ederson practicing penalties in training.
In a video shared by EPL World, Ederson stepped up and smashed the ball into the top corner of the net.
City have struggled from the spot this season, and at one point it was speculated that Ederson would be on the list of penalty takers.
City missed four of their 11 penalties this season, with Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne and most notably Sergio Aguero all missing from the spot.
And Pep Guardiola insisted he would be happy to see his goalkeeper step up.
“He is an option because I am pretty sure he’s a good taker,” he said.
Chelsea take on Manchester City on Saturday in the UEFA Champions League final, where Tuchel will look to grab the opportunity to capture the first silverware of his tenure.
And, speaking ahead of the match, the Blues boss said he wants his players to embrace the fear ahead of the biggest football night of their lives.
That’s because, as a lifetime student of human nature, he knows how the body is designed to deal with adversity appropriately.
Moreover, he knows first-hand how odd it is if you don’t react quite as expected to major incidents that affect you.
On April 11, 2017, the Dortmund team bus was attacked by three pipe bombs filled with nails.
One player broke his wrist but thankfully the toughened glass of the vehicle prevented any further casualties to the squad.
Blues boss Thomas Tuchel wants his players to embrace the fear ahead of the Champions League final (Image: GETTY)
“I can see still the nails sticking in the bus, I can see the nails sticking around where I even sat,” he said.
“My wife constantly tells the story that I went home late, of course. I drove home. I wrote to her that ‘everything is ok, don’t worry’.
“They were quite freaked out but I came home a little bit like a robot, not talking too much about it. I was in front of the TV watching Barcelona against Juventus because it was a Champions League night.
“She was, like, ‘that’s a bit weird…'”
“I hide it maybe somewhere, but it’s still there and it did not have the huge impact that you maybe can imagine.”
Tuchel revels in his role as a buffer between his players and their emotions – his high-energy style of motivating them giving little room for the doubts to creep in through the cracks.
“If they sometimes think the coach is crazy, good, good,” he smiles.
“If they sometimes are even a little bit in fear, good, even better! A little bit of fear is always good.
“And if we can laugh it out and if they are in the end not scared to express their feelings, then it’s the way.
“We are all a little bit crazy and this is part of the job.”
It’s almost as though Tuchel was born to be a “people person”.
His mother was a devoted carer.
“We have always treated everybody totally equally,” Tuchel said.
“I learned from my parents and from my mother, who worked her whole life with disabled and disadvantaged people, that there are no differences to make.”
Then when his football career ended abruptly and he was forced to fund his return to college by working as that most stereotypical of sounding posts – the local barman.
Although it was a respected position he had to earn the hard way.
“First of all I was a glass collector, collecting all the empty glasses and bottles,” he said.
“Then, the next step was I could serve because I was safe enough with the tray.
“Later, maybe after two or two-and-a-half years, I was behind the bar.
“Was I like Tom Cruise with the cocktails? Absolutely, yes.
“Well, maybe not quite like Tom Cruise, but I felt like Tom Cruise.”
One thing is for sure, win in Porto and it will not be Tuchel leaping about the bar at the party afterwards.
“Maybe I’m not the guy to dance on the table, but I will be so super-happy if we win and I see my team, my staff, the families and when I feel what it means to my family and to people around my family, to my grandma and to others.
“This is huge for me, and we will have fun if we go out.
“We will have fun. I don’t usually drink – maybe one or two gin and tonics. But I’ll not drink a still water all night.”
Raheem Sterling insists self doubt could be the biggest obstacle between Manchester City and their Champions League dream. The City forward struck a confident tone ahead of their date with destiny in Porto predicting Pep Guardiola’s side have the tools to overcome Chelsea.
But he maintained that banishing the inner demons of previous failures is the most important battle they have to win if they are to lift the trophy.
“It is now about focusing on winning that trophy and the only thing that can stop us are ourselves if I am honest,” said Sterling.
“It is a game where I expect a difficult test, but at the same time I expect us to pull through.”
City’s Champions League history has been a story of bad luck and poor judgement. In Guardiola’s time at the club they have crashed out to Monaco in the last 16, and lost in the quarter-finals to Liverpool, Tottenham and also Lyon last season.
“In the past we haven’t had the rub of the green and the luck that we needed,” said Sterling. “There have been games that we should have won and certain circumstances we haven’t.
“That is football at the end of the day and why we keep going and love it. This year, we played well and also had the luck that we needed.”
Sterling insists City’s dressing room has never been more confident or relaxed than it has been during this campaign.
And he maintained if City can reproduce their normal game it should be enough to beat Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
“The boys have been brilliant this year and we have another opportunity in the final against Chelsea to create something special again,” he said.
“Once you are winning trophies, you just want to win more. Hopefully that carries on into the weekend.
“I think the camp is pretty relaxed. It is the Champions League final, but at the same time we are footballers and we have to not let the occasion get to us and play our football.”
“They reached the final of the FA Cup and the Champions League and they have ended up in the top four. So, you can tell his job is paying off for them. He’s doing an amazing job.
“Their defensive consistency has improved a lot. They are very strong defensively and offensively they have a lot of resources as well.
“I think Tuchel had a great impact on the growth of Chelsea.Unfortunately, in the last two confrontations against them we were defeated, but I think we played well overall.
“Obviously, we made mistakes that can’t happen on the final, but I think the team is ready. If the team keeps playing the good football we have been playing over the last six months, I think we have a lot of chances to win the game.
“Of course, being a final, a Champions League final, it’s a completely different story. I hope the team can be focused and play a good game to get the final win.”
Marcus Rashford gave an impassioned post-match interview after Manchester United lost to Villarreal on penalties in the Europa League on Wednesday night and vowed: “We will come next season with a bigger desire.” Rashford was however subjected to sickening racist abuse after the match on social media.
The England international made a promise to United’s fanbase that the Red Devils will respond in the right way after losing to their La Liga opponents in Gdansk.
Gerard Moreno had put Villarreal ahead before Edinson Cavani pulled United level but the Premier League heavyweights could not score a winner and managed just two shots on target across the next 35 minutes of normal time and 30 minutes of extra time.
A dramatic penalty shootout saw 21 of 20 penalties scored with Geronimo Rulli completing the set for Villarreal as they despatched every spot-kick.
David de Gea then stepped up but saw his 12-yard effort saved by Rulli as Villarreal won the Europa League for the first time, manager Unai Emery for the fourth time, and extended United’s trophyless run to a fourth successive season.
United were favourites against the Spaniards having finished second in the Premier League table and an emotional Rashford post-match admitted it was not good enough for a club of their standards and expectations.
Yet the 23-year-old academy graduate – who reported over 70 instances of racist abuse post-match on social media – insists United will bounce back next term as they look to provide a sterner challenge to English champions Manchester City, whom they finished 12 points behind, and challenge in the Champions League.
Rashford told BT Sport: “[It’s] A disappointment. It’s disappointing. The feeling inside is difficult to explain. At the end of the day we came here to win.
“We’ve been working so hard all season and this was the opportunity to win a trophy and it didn’t happen for whatever reasons.
“We have to get rid of the disappointment and after that look back at the game and see what we did wrong, where we can improve. The team will not give up – there’s no chance the team gives up. The manager won’t allow us to give up.
“We will come next season with a bigger desire. The club, Manchester United. People say a lot about Manchester United, ‘They’re going downhill’, blah, blah, blah, blah.
“But for me, the club, the desire, the hunger, the talent, the ability, the squad, we have everything to compete at the highest level.
“We just have to show it to the world and ourselves, show why we belong in the top places and why we belong in finals like this and why we need to be winning finals like this.
“In the league we finished second. Second doesn’t count for nothing. Manchester City win the league, we finished second. It doesn’t mean nothing. Villarreal won the Europa League, we finished second.
“For us it’s nothing. I don’t want to hear, ‘They were so close’ because it means nothing. There’s one winner, there’s one loser. Today we lost. We have to find out why and make sure next time we don’t lose.”
Asked what gives him such confidence, Rashford insisted he was “100 per cent sure” that United could respond to their disappointment in Poland because of the sacrifices made by Solskjaer’s squad.
“To win big trophies you have to show sacrifice,” he added. “I could walk you into the dressing room and show you five, six, seven players – and me as well – who have had injuries here and here from September, the beginning of the season.
“We all stay together as a unit and fight to be successful for the club. This year it didn’t happen. Next year, we have to go away and clear our heads.
“When we come back we start fresh. When Ole came in there was a process. We believe in the process. This isn’t the end of the process. Part of the process is having ups and downs.
“Just because we lose today I promise the fans we don’t give up, there’s no chance we give up. We will come back next season with more desire and hunger. We have to do our best on the pitch and give 110 per cent.
“I know in every club they don’t have this sacrifice. But in the top clubs they have. That’s why they win trophies. We’re close, I promise we’re close. But close is not good enough, we have to be there.”
Rashford was disappointing on the night against Villarreal but has been nursing a foot injury for the past few weeks. Asked if he would be fit for the upcoming Euros with England, he declared: “Forget about the foot for now. The disappointment of today, I don’t feel the foot.”
The international tournament gets underway on June 11 with Rashford and team-mates Harry Maguire, Dean Henderson, Luke Shaw, Mason Greenwood and Jesse Lingard all called up for Gareth Southgate’s provisional 33-man squad.
Rashford meanwhile later tweeted: “At least 70 racial slurs on my social accounts counted so far. For those working to make me feel any worse than I already do, good luck trying.
“I’m more outraged that one of the abusers that left a mountain of monkey emojis in my DM is a maths teacher with an open profile. He teaches children!! And knows that he can freely racially abuse without consequence…”
Express Sport is determined to support the fight against hate and discrimination online. Read more about the Hope United campaign created by BT Sport to combat online hate in which Rashford is heavily involved here.
Bruno Fernandes could not hold back the tears after Manchester United’s heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final. The Red Devils were beaten 11-10 on spot-kicks after a thrilling shootout that never seemed like ending but it was David de Gea of all people who missed the decisive spot-kick that saw former Arsenal boss Unai Emery win the competition for the fourth time.
United took the penalties second and responded perfectly every time for ten successive spot-kicks.
Yet when it came down to the goalkeepers, Geronimo Rulli kept out the Spaniard’s strike after converting emphatically into the top corner himself.
After what has been a gruelling season, United fell just short of winning their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the final hurdle.
Fernandes had talked about using the Europa League as a launchpad for more trophies beyond this season.