Gundogan: “I’ve seen what needs to be done to win the Champions League”

“Since I was a teenager, I watched Barça matches. Matches during the week, on weekends. With Rijkaard, with Guardiola… I am very proud to have arrived at this club”. This is how Ilkay Gündogan (24-10-1990) presented himself in society this Monday as new Barça player until June 2025 with a termination clause of 400 million euros. President Laporta thanked Gundo (as he likes to be called) for his efforts to reject more economically lucrative offers and choose Barça as a club with “history, values” and a “genuine way of playing football.” “It is an honor that you have decided on our club, it strengthens us institutionally, and it means a lot because that means that you value our history as a club, and our values”. Laporta revealed that Gündogan was “the first player that Xavi asked us for”. “Last year we won the League, Ilkay, but the goal is for us to compete in the Champions League.” Mateu Alemany confirmed that the signing began to take shape the same day that the signing of Andreas Christensen was closed. “He had economic proposals that were higher than those of Barça and that doesn’t make the agents happy, but Ilkay wanted to play for Barça.”

Manchester City captain of the triplet, Gündogan could not stop exclaiming “visca el Barça”, before taking family photos that included one with his wife, Sara Arfaoui (who, by the way, has her birthday this Monday and appeared on crutches after an accident on his left foot during the holidays) and his son Kais, born last March. He then had to speak to journalists. With two proper names at the press conference. One, Xavi: “I liked the way he approached me, his honesty, his way of being direct. As a player I think he was similar to me. We had a connection when we talked. It wasn’t what he said but how he said it. That was basic”. The other name was Guardiola. Gundogan went to the talk in which he told him that he was going to Barça: “It was a phone call already on vacation. It was important to me that he be the first to have the information. I explained everything. I wanted to thank him for what the club and he had done for me. On the one hand. I suspect he was happy for me and wished me the best that I was. She told me to call him with anything I needed from the club or the city. We know each other perfectly and he knew why he made the decision. It was a combination of what he had achieved and what he hoped to achieve at Barça. I love challenges and the more difficult things in life. I saw the project, the people, the team and I felt hungry to sign for Barça”.

Soccer Football - FC Barcelona unveil Ilkay Gundogan - Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona, ​​Spain - July 17, 2023 New FC Barcelona player Ilkay Gundogan with his wife Sara Arfaoui and their son Kais pose for a picture during his presentation REUTERS/Albert Gea
Soccer Football – FC Barcelona unveil Ilkay Gundogan – Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona, ​​Spain – July 17, 2023 New FC Barcelona player Ilkay Gundogan with his wife Sara Arfaoui and their son Kais pose for a picture during his presentation REUTERS/Albert GeaALBERT GEAREUTERS

In Gundogan, as in Iñigo, Barça hopes to find two players of character. Two more leaders for a dressing room that already incorporated hierarchy last season with Lewandowski. The German and Laporta remembered Jordi Cruyff as a key figure in the signing. “It is a moment to prove myself in another country and in another League. It is a challenge for me because everything is new. It’s not easy to adapt to a different culture and something, but that’s why I’m here. I hope I can help the team to reach another level. I think the mix between young talents and experienced players is perfect and we will try to make it go well”, said the German, who also He revealed a chat with Lewandowski: “When he told me about the city, the club, the lifestyle, I saw how his eyes shone.”

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By the way, he also spoke about his eternal rival: “Winning against Madrid is the most special thing for a Barça player, it doesn’t matter which players are in the rival”. He didn’t get wet Bernardo Silva: “He is an incredible player, that is indisputable, but he has a contract with Manchester City. I love playing with him, I enjoy it, he is a top player, he has helped us win and whatever happens in the future I wish him and his family the best. But now he has a contract ”. He also winked at the youngsters, whom he will try to advise: “Gavi, Pedri, De Jong, who is still very young… they are incredible. I will try to help them because any career, like mine, has not only had ups, but also low. It’s not all about going up all the time. I can help them on the field in terms of game balance, defensive movements, offensive moves. Although surely they can do things better than me…”.

And the magic word arrived and at the same time cursed in Barcelona in recent years: the Champions League. Gündogan is the last one to lift her up as City captain… he believes that he has compiled some keys to help Barça: “It’s a different competition, it’s something magical. You can’t describe it. It is very difficult. For years I have lived it in the City. We were the favorites but due to circumstances you were out in the tie. After several years, I think I’ve seen what it takes to win the Champions League, although there are things that get out of control. I can convey certain ideas. Let’s hope that with the intelligent people in this club and the team we reach the right idea to win the Champions League”.

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