Hakan Calhanoglu noted how Inter ‘have analysed and studied’ Manchester City ahead of their Champions League final, confident that his side ‘will show our strength and quality’.
The Nerazzurri, whilst inconsistent in Serie A this season, have impressed in the Champions League, beating Porto, Benfica and Milan on the route to the final in Istanbul. The last time Inter were in the Champions League final came in 2010, when they beat Bayern Munich to secure a Treble.
Manchester City have already completed two parts of their own Treble, winning the Premier League and FA Cup, and are desperate to cap off their season in historic fashion at the Ataturk Stadium.
Speaking in a press conference, Calhanoglu first discussed his chances of scoring in the Champions League final.
“Why not? We will try, but they will obviously be ready too. You know better than me that Pep analyses the opposing team very well. I hope to score, but the important thing is to win.”
He spoke about how it feels to play the final in his home country.
“First of all, I am happy and proud to play this final in my country, I am sure they will support me and I hope I can lift this cup in Turkey. We know it won’t be easy, City are very strong, but we will put our hearts into it.”
The midfielder was asked about the atmosphere at the match and the presence of Ilkay Gundogan.
“My friends asked me a lot of things coming here, it took a long time to get here. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Gundogan, he’s a player I respect a lot, he plays for Germany, I play for Turkey but I respect his decision.”
Calhanoglu discussed Inter’s preparations for the Champions League final.
“We have analysed, studied our rivals, it is important to understand how they play. We will show our strength, our quality.
“We should not be afraid, they are very good in both phases of the game and we still have to show them what we are made of. We always played well in the Champions League.”
He was asked if the neutral Turkish fans attending the match would support him and Inter.
“I think it will be a very special match for me, playing in Istanbul will be something different. I want to give my all, we will all do it on the pitch tomorrow. I know the people of Turkey are with me, on the other side there is Ilkay, who we know well.
“What is different is that I play for Turkey, he for Germany. For our people, it would be important if I won, I am the only Turkish player in the running.”
Finally, Calhanoglu discussed the pressure ahead of the Champions League final.
“I don’t feel the pressure. After the game with Barcelona I had great confidence in myself and the team. It went well and that motivated us, I want to enjoy tomorrow’s game.
“It will be a great game and it’s a great emotion to be here. I’ll try to entertain you, to play a great game. Last night the last thing I thought about was lifting this cup.
“I dreamt of it as a child and I think it will be possible tomorrow.”