Battle of the Blues
Ananth Ganesh, who represented India at the 2022 Socca World Cup, feels most people will have their eyes on Man City.
On June 11, 12.30 am IST, football fans around the globe will be glued to their seats to witness the biggest match of the season (when the World Cup is not happening) – the UEFA Champions League (UCL) final between English Premier League’s (EPL) Manchester City FC vs Seria A’s Inter Milan. Two clubs known for their competency will clash heads on the biggest stage of club football. On one hand, this will be Man City’s second bout at the UCL final, their previous one being against London’s Chelsea FC in 2021 where the London club emerged victorious.
On the other hand, Inter Milan has already lifted the coveted trophy three times with the most recent one being in 2010. The 2010s, in a way, have been Man City’s glory years. They came out of the shadows of their red-slathered city rivals Manchester United FC and became the most dominant team in the EPL. Inter has had a bit of a breakthrough year for Italian football as they became the first Italian club to reach the UCL final since Juventus in 2017. It’s the Old Guard (Inter) vs New Arrivals (Man City) at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, and fanatics wait with bated breath. Manchester might be blue right now (owing to Man City’s dominance in the city over Man United), but this UCL, it seems like the whole of Europe is painted blue in two differing shades.
Parag Kulkarni, senior vice president – international and president – A. O. Smith India, is looking forward to the biggest match of the season – the flair of Man City vs the dogged defence of the Italians. “Man City is vying for the Treble (winning three major trophies in a single season) and for Inter, it is like regaining past glory. Contrasting styles and different reasons for the same goal. My heart beats for Inter but my head says Man City,” he shares.
Ananth Ganesh, who represented India at the 2022 Socca World Cup, feels most people will have their eyes on Man City. “The UCL final is probably the most anticipated game of the season. I feel the whole world will be watching to see if Man City can win the treble or not. Even though Inter were champions in 2010, I don’t think it gives them an edge since it was entirely a different team and manager. I believe Man City is the stronger squad of the two and has a higher chance to win. But as a Man United fan, I shall be praying for Inter’s victory,” quips Ganesh.
Displaying similar emotions is Siddhant Chaturvedi, who is also hoping for Man City’s loss more than Inter’s win.“I am a Real Madrid fan and Man City knocked them out in the semifinals. So, I naturally want Inter to win (laughs). Forza Inter, to triumph and beyond!” he exclaims.A fan of the game since the ’90s, Anirudh Kheny, partner at Daysie and SuzyQ, feels the English club will be the one to clinch the trophy.
“Man City has the edge with their outstanding team. Inter is looking strong this season but it will be difficult to beat City mainly due to the quality of their squad and bench strength, and their determination to win their first Champions League,” he signs off.
Outside of fans, sports bars and pubs are also anticipating the match. One of them is The Studs Sports Bar + Grill, whose co-founder Miten Shah is expecting a turnout of around 300 people. “Our place is always packed during UCL finals. We have put up screens for premium viewing and have curated a screening-friendly food menu,” says Shah.