Following the expiry of his contract, Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan has joined Barcelona. With titles in the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in less than a month, Gundogan leaves Manchester after the club’s most successful season. Since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2016, he has spent seven years at the Etihad Stadium, and manager Pep Guardiola has openly expressed a desire to prolong his own tenure. In advance of his contract expiring at the end of this week, Gundogan was in negotiations with City on a new agreement. The 32-year-old was offered a one-year contract with a 12-month option, but this was a deal-breaker for him. As a result, he signed a two-year agreement with La Liga champions Barcelona that also included a 12-month option.
“For me, being a member of Manchester City for the past seven years has been an absolute honor and joy,” Ilkay Gundogan said after joining Barcelona. “My home has always been Manchester, and at City, I have felt like a very special family member. I consider myself fortunate to have been a part of so many wonderful occasions throughout my time here, and serving as captain for this extra-special season has been the pinnacle of my professional career.”
“I’d want to start by thanking Pep. I’ll never forget being able to play with him and learn from him for such a long time,” he added. “I also want to thank all of my colleagues, both past and current, who have contributed greatly to the incredible experience I’ve had throughout my time here. Finally, I want to thank the amazing City supporters. I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude for their assistance, which they have given me since the minute I came. All of my aspirations were realized by this club, and I will always be grateful for the chance. City will always be a part of me. A blue is a blue is a blue.”
Txiki Begiristain, City’s director of football, praised the “inspirational” Gundogan after learning of the midfielder’s long-rumored free move to Barcelona. In his 304th and last appearance, Gundogan, Guardiola’s first purchase in July 2016, made a memorable exit by winning the Champions League title earlier this month.
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