Edin Dzeko has called on his Inter team-mates to give “more than 100%” if they are to beat Manchester City in the Champions League final.
Speaking exclusively to BT Sport, Dzeko, who spent five years at City from 2011 to 2016 and played a key role in two Premier League title wins, declared how determined he is to make the most of his shot at lifting the trophy.
City come into the game on the brink of history as they look to win Europe’s top prize for the first time, as well as potentially completing the treble having won the Premier League and FA Cup already this season.
Veteran striker Dzeko is aware the Serie A side will be underdogs in the eyes of many against his former club, but highlighted the fact that Inter themselves are looking to finish their own season with a flourish.
“Arriving in the Champions League final, I’m already 37 and it’s my first, and, you never know, but probably my last so I definitely want to enjoy it,” he said.
“We had a great season in the Champions League, less good in Serie A but we won the Super Coppa and Coppa Italia, so we are happy.
“It’s a big game for the club and players because it’s amazing to be in the final.
“We know we are going to play against probably the best team in the world. We know that City are the favourites and the whole team has to do more than 100% because City are not an easy team to beat but we are tough as well.”
In 2016, he left the club for Roma after an initial loan spell before joining Inter in 2021.
His first season in Italy saw him score 39 goals in all competitions, winning the Capocannoniere – Golden Boot – award, and he continues to find the target on a consistent basis, including in the two-legged Champions League semi-final win over city rivals AC Milan, even at the age of 37.
The Bosnian believes his time in Italy has helped him both improve and prolong his career, and sees no reason to slow down.
“The Premier League is a tough league to play in a lot of tempo,” he says of his time at City. “Italy is different, much more tactical. I can tell you more about football I’ve learned in Italy.
“I think Italian coaches are very prepared, they point you in every direction, what you have to do. Sometimes you hear some things that seem normal to you but you’ve never heard them before. For me, during my eight years here, I’ve grown a lot as a player.”
He added: “I feel good. That’s the most important thing. I think I can still give a lot to football at this level. This and last season prove that so let’s think first about the final and then what the future brings.”
Inter Milan’s Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko (2ndL) celebrates after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between AC Milan and Inter Milan, on May 10, 2023 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco B
Image credit: Getty Images
Inter navigated their way through a Champions League group featuring Bayern Munich and Barcelona followed by knockout wins over Porto and Benfica before the relatively comfortable semi-final victory over AC.
City, meanwhile, easily topped their group before sweeping aside RB Leipzig, Bayern and, most impressively, defending champions Real Madrid in convincing fashion.
While he is under no illusions of the challenge ahead, Dzeko says his side are in the final on merit and remains bullish about their chances of causing City problems if they perform at their “maximum” level.
“I watch a lot of City games,” he said. “They have great players, a great manager and obviously they are big favourites, I think everybody sees that and it’s okay. They are the team to beat in Europe and they’ve shown that, but we’re not there just to watch the game.
“No team can arrive in the final if they don’t deserve it. There are a lot of great teams so if you get to the final, you deserve to be in the final and deserve to play the biggest game of the year, so we’ll go for it, give our maximum and see what happens after the game.
“Definitely we’ll try to make them do more for the win.”
On June 10 and 11 strap yourself in for a live sport rollercoaster ride. With the finals of Roland-Garros, 24 Hours of Le Mans, Speedway Grand Prix, the UCI Mountain Bike World Series, the Criterium du Dauphine, MotoGP and the Champions League final, it’s the Weekend of Champions live on Eurosport, discovery+ and BT Sport.