The UEFA Champions League is the ultimate competition for any club. It was a unique year with ups and downs, but a second ever final appearance for Manchester City proved likely, and it took place. However, this was not any ordinary opportunity to lift the big-eared trophy; this was an opportunity to make history, becoming only the second ever English team to win the treble, having already won the Premier League and FA Cup before the fixture against Champions League veterans Inter Milan.

Having been a Manchester City fan for most of my life, I knew this could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Getting tickets was half the struggle, but now we would be there to witness a historic event in the most prominent sport ever.

I was there for the better part of four days, so there was a significant amount of time after the final as well. However, to put into perspective how last minute this was, the flight was booked on the 7th of June, and I had flown out on the 8th. This was something I needed to do. Upon arriving in the beautiful Eurasian city, we were encapsulated by the beautiful orange sunset upon the Turkish sky; while traveling to our Airbnb, it was a struggle to believe this was even real, that we were about to indulge in the dream of every football fan. My brother and I have been football fans for over a decade, so this was truly an unbelievable moment in both of our experiences of watching the game. We arrived at the apartment overlooking the Istanbul skyline at around 9:30 pm. The following morning was important, so we decided to call it a night early.

Waking up at around 10:30 am, we knew it was the day, and my nerves were taking over, simultaneously battling with the vast eagerness that was overwhelming. We took a taxi into the area near the city center, so we could leisurely make our way to the fanzone without any problems. At around 4:30 pm, we utilized Istanbul’s ludicrously cheap taxis once again to head to the famous Ataturk Olympic Stadium. There, we encountered several fans, all of whom were heading to their respective fanzones. The 400m uphill walk might have been tiring for the time being, but it was certainly worth it upon arrival at the Manchester City section. My brother and I stared at one another in disbelief upon the realization that our tickets had been scanned. This is happening. We made our way to the merchandise shop to catch a glance at the exclusive clothing we do not get access to again. In the end, we both acquired a cap with Istanbul ’23 plastered all over it, a priceless good to freeze a memory.

We then proceeded to wait in line to get a picture of the real Premier League and FA Cup trophies. Despite the 40-minute wait in line, we kept ourselves occupied by watching the two giant screens displaying our best moments of the season. After collecting the pictures, it was time for the chanting. We proceeded to sing all the songs and chant every limerick as the buildup to the game was creeping upon us. With well over 12,000 Manchester City supporters in the area, the sea of blue was similar to a cloudless skyline.

After plenty of singing, comradery, and support, it was time for the ultimate experience. We walked up to the intimidating but stunning stadium in awe as we anticipated the game of our life. With what felt like thousands of security checks, we were finally in at around 7:30 pm. There were still more than two hours to go, plenty of time to settle the nerves. We made our way to the seats and just took in the atmosphere, keeping digital memories along the way. And soon enough, it was kick-off.

Watching a game in person is something I can’t recommend more; every half-chance, counterattack, and even slight opportunity is emphasized when you are watching it live. This is how it went, singing the most iconic Manchester City fans while simultaneously glancing in awe at the astonishing Inter Milan support, ‘Italian fans are incredible,’ I said to my brother as their ultras raised the flags throughout the game. The first moment of disappointment arrived in the form of Kevin De Bruyne, the man who had been our best player throughout the season, being forced off because of injury. This quickly went from a favorite streak to a battle, which is exactly what Inter Milan wanted. It was a cagey affair, with both sides having chances, but the decisive moment came in the 68th minute, when Rodri struck the ball into the bottom corner, breaking the deadlock. The stadium went alight. Could this truly be the moment? I wasn’t exactly thinking like this at the time, being engrossed with emotions, but looking back; this could’ve been the biggest goal we ever scored as a club. Inter Milan proceeded to respond promptly, hitting the crossbar late on, followed by a rebound blocked by impostor Romelu Lukaku.

It was almost over, time had flown, and Inter Milan had one last corner, one corner away from the final whistle being blown. It was crossed in, met, and responded to equally with a stunning save by Ederson. It was over. We had won the treble. Our first Champions League. Tears flooded down my face as I was in a conflict between being speechless and overwhelmed. We decided to sprint over to the area next to us to get a better view of the trophy celebration. And after such, being 5m away from the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne while chanting their names, it doesn’t get better than that, and it can’t get better than that.

Away from football, after the game, the flood of over 30,000 fans trying to get the taxi would’ve put the mood down for some, but the chanting didn’t stop, and the enthusiasm carried well after the final whistle had blown. It was over. We had made history, and I was fortunate enough to witness it in person.

  • This was Manchester City’s first Champions League title.
  • They are the second ever English team to win the treble.
  • Rodri, the goalscorer, won player of the tournament and man of the match.
  • Each team was allocated 20,000 fans for the game.

By Satvik Shubham