Kevin De Bruyne says winning the Champions League would “change the narrative” around Manchester City as they prepare for the second leg of their semi-final against Real Madrid.
Pep Guardiola’s go into Wednesday’s match in Spain with a 4-3 lead after a thrilling first leg, seeking to reach the final for the second consecutive season.
City have been the dominant force in English football over the past decade but have never been crowned European champions despite the transformation of the club under their wealthy Abu Dhabi owners.
Belgium international De Bruyne said winning the trophy would “change the perspective from outside” Premier League leaders City, who lost last year’s final to Chelsea.
“As a player, you want to win the trophies and you want this one,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“I think the fact that we’ve been fighting for it for numerous years and been to the latter stages means we’ve been doing really well.”
The 30-year-old added: “Obviously, it’s a cup competition and the quality is very high so it’s very, very difficult to win it and there are different circumstances that happen.
“But if you look back at the way we have performed, or I have performed with the team for seven years, we’ve done really well. But obviously we haven’t won it and I think winning it would change that little narrative.”
Guardiola said his side would probably have to improve on their first-leg performance against the newly crowned Spanish champions to reach a likely final against Liverpool in Paris.
“At the same time I would like to tell you one thing — we could play much, much worse than we played and we could win, and not anyone can deny my assessment is right,” he said.
“So nobody knows, football is unpredictable. Sometimes you get something you don’t deserve, sometimes you don’t get something maybe you deserve, for the effort, for many things.”
Defender Kyle Walker could make a return at the Bernabeu against the 13-time European champions after missing the past five matches with an ankle injury.
Walker is back in training and Guardiola confirmed he would travel before a late decision is made but fellow defender John Stones remains sidelined.