Pep Guardiola has already told Man City how to win Champions League back

Just under a year since that famous night in Istanbul, Manchester City are no longer champions of Europe.

It may not stop the chants but Pep Guardiola's side can no longer say they are the holders of the competition after Real Madrid beat Dortmund in the final at Wembley on Saturday night to clinch their 15th triumph. Whatever disappointment there was at City's exit at the quarter-final stage - and there is some, given they were only a penalty shootout away from ousting the kings of the competition for a second straight year - the Blues can expect that they will be ready to challenge again next year.

That was an ambition laid down by club bosses in the week after Istanbul, a determination to turn their domestic dominance into a concerted effort to win multiple Champions Leagues. No numbers were put on the target but the intent has to be there.

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There can be satisfaction at the way City went out this season despite the result; they held their own at the Bernabeu in a thrilling game and then threw everything at an ultra-defensive Real after one bit of poor play had given the visitors the lead. Guardiola was happy that City stayed true to themselves the whole way through in a tie that really could have gone either way.

That identity will be key to City's pursuit of the Champions League next season, and also vital will be the mindset. The route to the final will be clear from the last-16 phase under the new regulations, meaning a potential date with the serial winners can be eyed up.

“I think all the clubs in the world have the feeling if you want to win this competition you have to beat Real Madrid right now,” Guardiola said before their semi-final in 2023. “Before it used to be Barcelona, but now it’s Real Madrid."

It's a basic thing to say but in the modern era it has been spot on for City - their last three European campaigns have featured titanic tussles with Real. While the Blues are the benchmark in the Premier League, the Spanish giants are miles clear of the rest of the competition to be the standard-bearers for the most glamorous trophy.

Dortmund may have been unlikely finalists, benefitting from being pitted in a lighter side of the draw from the quarter-final stage as the four best teams were all squeezed into the same half. However, the German side still proved the rule in the end: even if you think you can avoid Real to win, you shouldn't.

City will start as one of the favourites next season as they always do, but they have to be patient enough to wait for their moment and clinical to strike to cut Real down to size.