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Ruben Dias: Fresh City reinvigorated by Champions League final

Ruben Dias: Fresh City reinvigorated by Champions League final
Ruben Dias says the prospect of Champions League glory has reinvigorated players as he declared Manchester City couldn’t be fresher ahead of facing Chelsea in the final.

Saturday’s game in Portugal will be the 61st Pep Guardiola’s side have played in a particularly demanding season made shorter by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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City have followed a three game a week schedule for much of the campaign, but Dias says the desire to lift club football’s biggest prize outweighs the fatigue you might expect at this stage in the calendar.

“I think we couldn’t be more fresh,” said the Football Writers' Association’s Player of the Year.

“Obviously, we’re all very happy for what’s happened, but we all know how special the Champions League is. We’re fresh because we want it so much.

“I think it’s just the importance of the competition. Almost everybody has dreamed of winning the Champions League. I think it’s the biggest competition.

“Obviously, you have World Cups, you have [the] European [Championship], but the Champions League, with your club, it’s always, always, very special.

“And I think that just says it all.”

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City overcame several previously unsurmountable obstacles to set up our meeting with Chelsea.

Victory over Borussia Dortmund saw us qualify for the semi-finals for the first time under Guardiola, where two impressive performances saw us dispatch Paris Saint-Germain to reach a maiden Champions League final.

Guardiola's men produced a brilliant fightback to take a 2-1 lead from the first leg in Paris and Dias highlights the squad’s reaction to that win as the most important moment in our entire European campaign.

“One of the moments that made me click was when we were 1-0 down, at half-time in Paris, and [in the] second half, we turned it around and we won 2-1.

“And then, we went into the dressing room and you saw everybody happy, but you didn’t see anybody [who was] too happy.

“You saw everybody focused and [aware] that there is another game to play and I think, on that day, we won the second leg, because everyone knew what was coming, knew against whom we were playing and how good they are, and how easily they could turn it around if we weren’t ready.

“I think that moment, when we all [went into] the dressing room and you saw everyone happy, but focused on what’s coming, was the key moment to reaching the final.”

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