Star pays Manchester United tribute after reaching Champions League final

Star pays Manchester United tribute after reaching Champions League final

Matteo Darmian bid a grateful thank you to former employers Manchester United after helping Inter Milan set up a Champions League final meeting with Real Madrid or Man City on Tuesday night.

There was once a time when Matteo Darmian would take to photoshop in order to feel like he belonged on the biggest stage.

The Italy international, after being left out of the squad for United’s dramatic comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain back in 2019, found himself stuck at home messing around on his laptop rather than joining in the celebrations in the French capital.

So few at Old Trafford would begrudge Darmian his moment in the sun; the versatile defender playing 180 minutes over two legs as Inter swept aside bitter rivals AC Milan at San Siro.

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

Inter beat Milan to reach Champions League final

Now 33, Darmian is in the midst of a late-career resurgence back home in Italy. A player who joined Manchester United in a £13 million deal from Torino eight years ago is potentially just an hour-and-a-half away from adding a Champions League winners’ medal to his Serie A, FA Cup, EFL Cup, Europa League and Coppa Italia titles.

And while Darmian found opportunities hard to come by in England – managing just 14 league appearances during his final two seasons under Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – he clearly harbours no bitterness towards his old employers.

“I have to say thank you to them (United),” an emotional Darmian tells Sky Italia.

“Because if I am the player and the person that I am, it is also because of them. Thank you to them.”

Darmian is not the only former Red Devil who will be hoping to start the biggest game of their careers under cup-specialist Simone Inzaghi at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.

Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both made big contributions against Milan; the former setting up Lisandro Martinez’s winner in midweek after the former put Inter 2-0 up in the first leg.

“We must be proud of what we’ve done,” Darmian adds. “It’s not every year you get to the final of the Champions League. It’s been an incredible journey.

“After the group stage draw, lots of people said we wouldn’t go through. But we’ve always believed in (ourselves). We’ve shown that we have technical and moral strengths. A​nd, thanks to that, we’ve reached Istanbul.”

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