Man City's Kevin De Bruyne forced off with injury in 1st half of Champions League final

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Manchester City were forced to play much of Saturday's Champions League final without Kevin De Bruyne after the midfield playmaker had to go off injured during the first half of their clash with Inter Milan in Istanbul.

It is the second time De Bruyne's participation in the Champions League final has been cut short after he was also substituted because of injury during Manchester City's defeat to Chelsea in 2021.

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This time, though, City went onto win the trophy in De Bruyne's absence, with Rodri's second-half goal sealing a 1-0 win and a first-ever Champions League title.

"It has been a hard two months," De Bruyne told BT Sport after the final whistle. "I had a lot of problems with my hamstring and it snapped.

"The team was good enough though and we won. We have been working so long for this, it is amazing.

"We have not lost in the Champions League this year. It was not the best game but now is the time to celebrate."

The Belgium midfielder was substituted after 36 minutes against Inter.

The 31-year-old was assessed by medical staff on the pitch before trying to continue but in the end was forced off and replaced with Phil Foden.

Against Chelsea in 2021, De Bruyne suffered a facial injury after a collision with defender Antonio Rudiger. Post-match tests revealed a fractured nose and eye socket.

Before going off on Saturday, De Bruyne's perfectly angled and weighted pass had sent Erling Haaland into space in the penalty area for a powerful left-foot shot that Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana blocked with his left arm.

As De Bruyne walked toward the touchline, Man City coach Pep Guardiola came on to the pitch to greet his player. Guardiola patted the dejected De Bruyne's lowered head.

De Bruyne, who turns 32 later this month, placed third in voting for the Ballon d'Or award for 2022, awarded in October to Karim Benzema with Sadio Mané in second place. It was his highest individual international honor.

He also had never won a European title at club level or for Belgium. Until Man City did it Saturday.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.