Manchester City cruised into the Champions League final with a 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, but there was a tense exchange between Pep Guardiola and Kevin De Bruyne in the second half.
The Premier League leaders outclassed the holders of the European trophy and set up a showdown with Inter in Istanbul on June 10. City controlled the game from start to finish, but their perfectionist coach Guardiola was not happy with De Bruyne’s wastefulness on the ball at one stage and shouted at him from the sidelines.
De Bruyne reacted angrily to his boss’s instructions and was seen shouting “shut up, shut up” back at the City bench.
Guardiola explained his frustration to Movistar after the game: “At 2-0 we rushed a lot. Right after the break [Ilkay] Gundogan lost a ball, Kevin made three transitions that weren’t necessary and we rushed a lot when we had to do the opposite, sink them and turn them, sink them and turn them. But it’s normal. It gets close, you rush, and it has cost us more, although in general we have had an extraordinary game.”
Former Belgium manager Thierry Henry – who was working as an analyst for CBS Sports – revealed that he had a private conversation with De Bruyne after the match and gained more respect for him based on what he said. Henry said: “It was [a touching moment].
I can’t say it because I have to keep that private. But from what he said to me, I even more respect how he played tonight and how he came and battled with his team. I can’t share what he said because I can’t share it. That’s how it is. But once again I will go back to, for me he is the most important player.‘’
Guardiola has sometimes criticised De Bruyne’s performance this season, but the 31-year-old is still a key player for City as they aim to win a treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 2022-23.