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Ilkay Gündogan bids emotional farewell to Manchester

Ilkay Gündogan has bid farewell to Manchester City after a highly successful seven-year spell, as he prepares to join Barcelona.

Gündogan leaves Man City

His time at the Etihad Stadium coincided with the club’s most successful periods, during which he made 304 appearances and found the back of the net on 60 occasions across various competitions.

Pep Guardiola’s first signing at Man City

Arriving at City in July 2016 from Borussia Dortmund, Gundogan had the distinction of being Pep Guardiola’s inaugural signing after the Spanish manager took charge.

Reflecting on his tenure, the German midfielder expressed immense gratitude and joy for his association with Manchester City, considering it a special family and his home.

Gundogan acknowledged the privilege of learning from Guardiola during their long-standing partnership, hailing it as an unforgettable experience.

The Man City family

He wrote to his Instagram: “For me, it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years,”

“Manchester has been my home and I have felt part of a very special family at City.

“I have been lucky to have experienced so many unforgettable moments in my time here and to have been captain for this extra special season has been the greatest experience of my career.

“First, I would like to thank Pep. To have been able to play under and learn from him for so long has been something I will never forget.

“I would also like to thank all my teammates – past and present – who have all played such a special part in making my time here so amazing.

“Finally, I would like to thank the incredible City fans. They have supported me from the moment I arrived, and I owe them all so much for their support.

“This club made me realise all my dreams and I will forever be thankful for this opportunity.

“I will carry City always in my heart. Once a blue, always a blue.”

Once a blue, always a blue

While goals were not Gundogan’s primary role upon joining City, he will be remembered for his exceptional contributions.

One of his greatest impacts was his ability to operate and evolve within the midfield, much like David Silva, whom Gundogan was compared to by Kevin De Bruyne.

He possessed an astute sense of finding and utilising space effectively to propel City forward.

As his journey with the club progressed, Gundogan became more involved in more attacking aspects of play.

His well-timed runs, often difficult for opponents to track, allowed him to wreak havoc in dangerous areas.

When sweeping a cross into the bottom corner, he frequently enjoyed time and space to select his target, a position his teammates had grown accustomed to.

Initially deployed in a deeper role, Gundogan assumed the responsibility of providing simple passes to De Bruyne and Silva, who thrived in the final third.

In recent times, Guardiola afforded Gundogan greater freedom, allowing him to flourish as a No. 8, while occasionally dropping him to a deeper position when the situation demanded it.

This hunger for new experiences motivated his decision to embark on a fresh adventure at Barcelona, seeking to learn a different footballing style after seven years under Guardiola’s tutelage.

Guardiola himself lauded Gundogan’s qualities, emphasising his silent leadership and the captivating effect of his words when he speaks.

And it appears Arfaoui Ilkay’s wife who is a model and TV presenter, has had a change of heart about life in Manchester, having once hit out at the culinary scene.

Penning a farewell message on Instagram, she wrote: ‘I can’t say much just because I’m not realising what is happening. All I can say is thank you Manchester for giving us all this love and thank you to our friends. I will miss my City family.

“‘I arrived in Manchester without expectations and I leave as a wife, a mum and with the greatest friends we could wish for.

‘I did follow City everywhere, dreaming of winning the Champions League, but what happened was more than I dreamed of. I will keep everyone in my heart.

‘My @ilkayguendogan, you were amazing and I was proud of you every game. Forever the Treble capitano!’

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