Barcelona have unveiled German midfield sensation IIkay Gundogan as the club’s new signing.
IIkay Gundogan has signed a two-year deal with a one-year extension clause with Barcelona as his Manchester City contract expires on June 30.
The former Borussia Dortmund midfielder won five Premier League titles in his seven seasons at Manchester City, including two FA Cups, 4 EFL Cups, 2 Community Shields, and a Champions League trophy.
Gundogan made 304 appearances for Manchester City, scoring 60 goals.
The 32-year-old German midfielder captained Manchester City to the historic 2023 treble, leaving the club as a champion for a reunion with his former teammate at Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandwoski.
Gundogan will be expected to bring the spark to Camp Nou in Xavi’s Barcelona midfield. The Catalans surmounted the challenge by bitter rivals Real Madrid to win the 2022/23 La Liga title but were found wanting on the European stage.
They crashed out in the group stages of the Champions League and were knocked out by Manchester United in the Europa League playoffs.
Gundogan was already in the peak of his career while at Borussia Dortmund but his move to Manchester City marked a sharp rise in his career. His Manchester City move sharpened his goal-scoring skills turning him into a complete attacking midfielder.
IIkay Gundogan will be a great addition to Barcelona star-studded midfield with the likes of Pedri and Gavi set to make a good midfield combo with Gundogan.
Gundogan is expected to replace Sergio Busquets, who has left the club this summer for a reunion with former teammate Lionel Messi at Inter Miami in the MLS while Manchester City have already shopped for his replacement, signing Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea.
Gundogan sends emotional farewell message to Manchester City
Following his unveiling by Barcelona, Ilkay Gundogan wrote an emotional farewell letter and tribute to Manchester City.
Gundogan thanked his manager, Pep Guardiola, for understanding his decision not to sign a new contract with Manchester City. He thanked the City manager for helping him achieve the dream he had as a Manchester City player.
Gundogan revealed it was hard when he disclosed to his teammates he would leave the club this summer but he is happy to have left as a champion.
‘Today is bittersweet,’ he wrote in a blog post on The Players Tribune. ‘Goodbyes are never easy, but it’s even harder with this team. When I had to break the news to the boys that I was leaving in our group chat, I was very emotional. I will miss all of them, honestly. But I am happy to say that I’m leaving here as a champion, and I have nothing but love for the club in my heart
”It’s amazing what we achieved. Five Premier League titles in my seven years here. Two FA Cups. The Champions League. The treble. But those are just trophies. The thing that I will remember the most is the feeling inside the squad, especially this season. I’ve never experienced something like it in football.’
On his new club, IIkay Gundogan said he had always admired Barcelona and had wanted to play for them. He also relish the prospect of reuniting with his former teammate from Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandwoski but added it was hard calling Pep Guardiola he wants to leave.
Gundogan also revealed he suffered a knee injury while Pep Guardiola was trying to sign him from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and was worried the move will not happen but Guardiola allayed his fears and assured him the club will wait for him till he recovers from the injury.
”It was Barcelona or nothing. Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of wearing that shirt some day”, IIkay Gundogan added.
“One of the hardest calls I had to make was to Pep, telling him that I was going to leave. All I could do was to say thank you.
“Not just for this season, or for all the trophies, but for bringing me here in the first place. I will never forget when I hurt my knee at the end of the season with Dortmund and I had to get surgery, I was so worried that City would pull out of the deal for me.
“But Pep called me on the phone and said, ‘Don’t worry, it doesn’t change anything. We want you here. We will wait for you no matter how long it takes'”.