Men's Team

Hart: Champions League final is fully deserved

Hart: Champions League final is fully deserved
Joe Hart has paid tribute to the long journey that Manchester City have embarked on to reach a maiden Champions League final.

The former City goalkeeper was between the sticks when we bowed out in our only previous semi-final in 2016 to eventual winners Real Madrid.

But there was no last four heartache this time for Pep Guardiola’s men, as a brace from Riyad Mahrez secured a 2-0 victory, and 4-1 aggregate triumph, over Paris Saint-Germain to book our place in the Istanbul showpiece.

Hart insists the job isn’t done, but feels that reaching our first European final in 51 years is just rewards for all those who have stuck by the club through thick and thin across the decades.

“It’s a huge moment,” the former City goalkeeper declared as part of BT Sport’s post-match coverage.

“People say City don’t have much history on the European level, but it’s got a real soul to this club.

"There’s lots of people who have been through an awful lot, who have been through the divisions, the highs, the lows, but they’ve stuck together.

“Maine Road, Division Two, right to this moment now. It’s a process and I’m really pleased for them, the fans, people who I’m very close with.

“I’ve lived in Manchester a long time now. It’s a huge moment and it’s fully deserved.

“But it’s not done yet, this is not a club now that only wants to get to finals, it wants to win them.”

WATCH: Highlights: City 2-0 PSG

When Hart made the switch from Shrewsbury Town as a 19-year-old in May 2006, City had just finished 15th in the Premier League.

But as our former stopper alluded to, our progression over the years is the result of a tireless quest for success under the watchful eye of Sheikh Mansour.

And he insists that our owner deserves tremendous credit for the way in which he has helped to revitalise the structure and mentality of both the club and the local area whilst also remaining faithful to our history and heritage.


He said: “When I signed in 2006, City wanted to finish in the top half, that was the plan.

“And then another takeover happened, the Abu Dhabi group, and you’re thinking ‘okay, here we go’.

“But they’ve done it properly, they’ve built the foundations, they’ve built into the community and they’ve built into the real spirit that Manchester City has as a club.”

One significant aspect of that culture is the free-flowing, attractive football which is encouraged across the entire club, honed and perfected under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.

But City’s opening goal against PSG, in which a raking pass from Ederson bypassed the entire opposition defence to spark a devastating counter attack, demonstrated the pragmatic edge that we also possess.

And Hart, who made over 300 appearances between the sticks for City, believes our ability to launch an attack from anywhere on the pitch is a lethal weapon to have in the arsenal.

“It’s such a great thing to have, you can have many different game plans against Manchester City,” he explained.

“And if one of your game plans is to press not only can they play through you, they’ve also got that.

“So there’s just threats in all different parts of the pitch and they know how to use them.”

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