Pep Guardiola’s imperious team can complete a Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble by beating Internazionale on Saturday, when City could become champions of Europe for the first time. De Bruyne admits City would gain greater recognition as one of the finest sides in the game by lifting the trophy but believes his own reputation will not be shaped by one final.
The Belgium international said: “It depends who you ask [whether City’s status rests on winning the Champions League]. Most of the guys have been incredible anyway. Will it help? Yes. But one 90 minutes doesn’t define a career. I am on around 700 games. One 90 minutes out of 700 doesn’t define my career. But obviously it helps.”
De Bruyne’s previous Champions League final experience ended in painful defeat by Chelsea in 2021, when he was left with a fractured nose and left eye socket after a clash with Antonio Rüdiger.
“That is football,” he said. “I have never broken anything in my life and I come out of the Champions League final with a broken nose, a broken eye socket and concussion. It happens. There is nothing more I can do. I wished it was better but it wasn’t.”
The 31-year-old produced another outstanding display on Saturday at Wembley, where City completed part two of their treble pursuit with victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup. The midfielder says the Cup final was perfect preparation for Istanbul.
“There was belief anyway but there was no point talking about it before. We know now. I want to win the Champions League and I want to win the treble but we were getting ready to win this game. We deserved to win. I am very happy and very proud. We should enjoy the next week and hopefully we can perform the best we can.”
City are strong favourites to claim their first Champions League title against Simone Inzaghi’s side, although De Bruyne insists the quality and threat of Internazionale must be respected.
“Inter are a very good team,” he said. “Finals are 50-50. We were favourites in the FA Cup. It is always difficult. You have to manage these moments. There will be moments when it is tough but in the big moments we try to do our job. Inter have great players and we have respect for them. They haven’t got to the final by beating easy teams.”