Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, has expressed that winning just one Champions League trophy is not a remarkable achievement as they prepare to defend their title as holders.
In June, City secured their first-ever victory in the prestigious European club football competition, triumphing over Inter Milan with a 1-0 scoreline in the final held in Istanbul. This victory completed a historic treble for the team.
Guardiola’s side, having won all five of their Premier League matches this season, will now face former champions Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Guardiola stated, “Winning the Champions League is an incredible feat for our club. However, there are numerous teams that have won only one Champions League trophy. In fact, there are many clubs that have won two, three, four, or even five. When put into perspective, our accomplishment is not particularly exceptional, merely one among many. Nevertheless, I am immensely proud to be a part of this club’s history.”
Real Madrid holds the record for the most Champions League titles, with 14 to their name, followed closely by AC Milan with seven. Liverpool and Bayern Munich have each secured six titles.
Guardiola also mentioned that his team might find it easier to defend their trophy than to win it for the first time, as their recent triumph came after years of near-misses and frustration.
“The most challenging task is to secure the first victory,” Guardiola explained.
While this season’s Champions League final will take place at Wembley, Guardiola clarified that their focus is not on the future venue, but rather on taking each game as it comes.
“We are not thinking about that,” he said. “We are focused on winning the first match. It is essential to keep the final in mind when we reach the quarterfinals and semifinals. The upcoming months are a long time away. Right now, our priority is to try and win against a formidable and quick attacking team tomorrow.”
Defender Kyle Walker, who recently signed a contract extension, emphasized that despite their past success in winning multiple trophies, the hunger for further achievements remains within the City dressing room.
“The motivation to keep going comes from within,” Walker remarked. “The players and the manager share a strong desire to continue winning. Guardiola still strives for more victories and will not settle for second place. It is our responsibility to follow in his footsteps.”
City will once again be without the services of John Stones, Jack Grealish, and Mateo Kovacic for the match against Red Star, a club that clinched the European champions title in 1991.