Will Sergio Aguero play? All you need to know about the Champions League Final 2021 – Man City vs Chelsea

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It’s an all-English Champions League final – but will it be Manchester City or Chelsea who will be crowned champions of Europe on Saturday?

Premier League champions City are looking to win the prestigious competition for the first time.

Chelsea,  European champions in 2012,  have beaten Pep Guardiola’s side twice in the league and FA Cup in 2020-21.

Up to 16,500 people will be allowed inside Porto’s Estadio do Dragao ground to watch.

Both sides have fully fit squads to choose from, although City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan looked like he took a minor knock in Friday’s training session after a collision with Fernandinho.

“I know exactly the way we want to play, with who we’re going to play and I’m not going to bother them much,” Guardiola said.

“It’s an incredible experience to be here. I know exactly what I’m going to tell them. The guys who are anxious and nervous, I will tell them that’s normal.

“I’m pretty sure we have to suffer to win the final. It’s nice to say enjoy it but sometimes it’s not possible. You have to be resilient and adjust.”

City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne said: “If you win, you’re a hero. If you lose, you’re almost a failure. Coming to this stage is incredibly well done by the team but if you don’t win it’s something you don’t want to experience.

“It’s been one of the goals of the club and the players. Being able to be there tomorrow [Saturday] and to perform on the highest stage in the world is something of a privilege.”

City’s Spanish boss Guardiola is looking to win the Champions League for a third time after steering Barcelona to triumphs in  2009  and  2011. 

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is seeking his first Champions League success. Last season, the German took Paris St-Germain to the final,  losing 1-0 to Bayern Munich. 

“I have full trust that everybody wants it,” said Tuchel. “It is about hunger and always on the highest level in sport it comes down to how bad do you want it? I have felt us very concentrated, focused and disciplined in the build-up this week.

“It’s always tough to play against City, Bayern or Barcelona when Pep is on the sidelines. He creates huge belief and success and has a huge winning mentality.

“Maybe in the moment they are the strongest team in Europe, in the world, and they have built a huge gap between us in the league but we closed the gap for 90 minutes in Wembley and closed the gap again in Manchester.”

The final will be decided on the day, with 30 minutes of extra time and then penalties if required.

Each side will be allowed five substitutions, with a sixth permitted for each side if the final goes to extra time.

Tuchel said: “The penalty shootout [in the Europa League final] was fantastic in terms of quality from the takers. I don’t think I have ever seen something like this – 20 penalties in a row with no miss and so well taken.

“We have identified the guys who should take the penalties for us but I don’t know who is in the end on the pitch so we need to be well aware but if we go to penalties we go in together and out together.”

The video assistant referee (VAR) system will be used, while City have been designated the ‘home’ team, which means they will play in their traditional sky blue and white colours.

This year’s final will air in over 200 countries around the world, with the opening ceremony taking place about 10 minutes before the biggest game in European club football kicks off.

Where is it taking place?

The Champions League final has been moved to Porto to accommodate fans.

The final was due to be staged at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkey but was  switched earlier this month to the Portuguese city of Porto  because of coronavirus restrictions.

Portugal is on England’s green list for travel, so players and fans can attend without having to quarantine on their return home. Turkey is on the red list.

It is the second successive year the final has been held in Portugal, with Lisbon the location for the delayed final stages of last season’s competition.

The Estadio do Dragao hosted the  2019 Nations League final  and was built for Euro 2004.

City have played at the venue in this season’s Champions League, with Pep Guardiola’s side held to a  goalless draw by Porto  in the group stage in December.

Chelsea also played Porto on their way to the final but both legs of their quarter-final in April were played in  Spain at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium  because of coronavirus travel restrictions between Portugal and the UK at that time – the country was moved to the green list on 17 May.

How many fans will be at final?

The 2020 final between Bayern Munich and Paris St-Germain was played behind closed doors in Lisbon.

However, there will be up to 16,500 supporters present for this year’s edition – about one-third of Estadio do Dragao’s capacity – with Manchester City and Chelsea each receiving an allocation of approximately 6,000 tickets.

Chelsea have  returned more than 800 unsold tickets. 

There was a high demand for 2,800 tickets which were sold with independent travel. However, the unsold tickets were part of a charter package, which included subsidised flights at £200.

Meanwhile, a further 1,700 tickets made available by Uefa for the general public sold out on Tuesday.

Will Aguero play?

If started, Sergio Aguero will be playing his final game for City after 10 years at the club.

Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, who has 260 goals in 389 games for the club, will leave when his contract expires this summer.

Aguero marked his last appearance at City’s Etihad Stadium with two goals as the new Premier League champions ended their domestic campaign with a  thumping win over Everton  last Sunday.

Should he play in the final, it will be the Argentine’s farewell appearance for the club after 10 years.

Aguero has scored 13 goals against Chelsea for City, although he has not scored in any of his past four appearances against them since a hat-trick in February 2019.

He is  close to joining Barcelona  next season, according to City boss Guardiola.

Both managers have fully fit squads to choose from.

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy have recovered from injuries and are available for selection, while City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is also back after suffering a knock against Brighton on 18 May.

City’s first major European final for 51 years – best stats

  • It is 51 years since Manchester City last played in a major European final – beating Gornik Zabrze 2-1 in the 1970 Cup Winners’ Cup final.
  • In European competition, Chelsea and Manchester City’s only previous meeting came in the 1970-71 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final – Chelsea won both legs 1-0 to progress to the final, where they beat Real Madrid after a replay.
  • If he starts, City’s Phil Foden, who turned 21 on Friday, will become the third-youngest Englishman to start in a Champions League final, after Owen Hargreaves in 2001 for Bayern Munich (20 years 123 days) and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold in both 2018 (19 years 231 days) and 2019 (20 years 237 days).
  • Since featuring in a 2-1 defeat by Lyon in September 2018, City’s Bernardo Silva is unbeaten in his past 26 Champions League matches (W23 D3) – the longest unbeaten run in the history of the competition.
  • Chelsea defender Thiago Silva featured in last season’s Champions League final for Paris St-Germain and could become the fifth player to play in the final in consecutive seasons with different teams, after Marcel Desailly (1993 Marseille, 1994 Milan), Paulo Sousa (1996 Juventus, 1997 Borussia Dortmund), Samuel Eto’o (2009 Barcelona, 2010 Inter Milan) and Alvaro Morata (2014 Real Madrid, 2015 Juventus).

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