Ex-Manchester United winger Nani believes the “emotional” power of the Champions League is something that cannot be explained.
Manchester City and Inter will meet at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium next month, with the Premier League club chasing a potential treble in Turkey.
It marks the second final for Pep Guardiola’s team after their 2021 loss to Chelsea, while Inter will feature in a Champions League final for the first time since they won the competition in 2010.
Nani, who now plays for Melbourne Victory in the A-League, reached three finals between 2008 and 2011 with United, and describes the showpiece game as an indescribable event.
“It’s true, you get emotional,” he said in an interview with the Go Turkiye YouTube Channel. “It’s something you can’t explain.
“When I heard the [Champions League] music, I used to sing at the same time. The experience on the field is amazing, it makes you nervous, it makes you anxious for the start of the game.
“But playing in the final is something else. It is something that any player wants to experience. I’ve been lucky in my career to have been able to play in three finals. I was lucky enough to win one of them.
“That feeling is amazing. For a player to explain, it is difficult.
“It is a lot of pressure. On a stage where you’re playing against so many stars, I was very nervous but in the end everything went well.
“When you win the game, you just think about celebrating with your team-mates, with your family, and with the people who love you.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 25, 2023
Asked if any of his former team-mates stood out for their dedication to European question, Nani picked out ex-United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, who won his first Champions League title with the club in 2008.
“He’s been the best player everywhere he’s been,” he added. “Ronaldo was amazing. In the Champions League. He always treated those matches differently.
“His preparation and concentration for these matches was completely different from league games. [But] I had a lot of players I enjoyed playing with.
“[Take] Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, and Patrice Evra. All of these players had an elite mentality when it came to the Champions League. It was very special.”
Fenerbahce forward Michy Batshuayi, meanwhile, pointed to one of his former Chelsea team-mates.
“For me, it was Eden Hazard,” Batshuayi said.
“What I liked about him was how relaxed he was, for him, the game was very simple, and because of this, he found it very easy to beat the opponent.
“I love that mentality, it doesn’t put pressure on the player. I have many other players like [Cesc] Fabregas, David Luiz and John Terry.”
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