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Ilkay Gundogan: Once a Blue, Always a Blue

Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan confirmed that he would leave at the end of his current contract.

Ilkay Gundogan's Manchester City career will end when his contract expires at the end of June, and he will be joining Barcelona.

Gundogan joined City from Borussia Dortmund in July 2016 and had the distinction of being Pep Guardiola's first signing after the Catalan was appointed City manager.

"For me, it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years," Gundogan said, and he looked back at his time in Manchester.

IMAGO / Sportimage
Ilkay Gundogan

"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".

It's been a hugely successful time for the German international at the Etihad Stadium, making 304 appearances across all competitions and scoring 60 goals.

IMAGO / News Images
Ilkay Gundogan with the first of three trophies won in his last season with Manchester City

Over his seven-year stay at the Club, Gundogan won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups, two Community Shields and the Champions League, the most successful period in the club's history.

In the first-ever all-Manchester FA Cup Final, Gundogan's sensational volleyed opener in 12 seconds became the quickest goal in FA Cup final history, helping City to the second part of the Treble.

It's not the first time that Gundogan's goals have come in vital matches, with the German's dramatic late brace completing a stunning turnaround from 2-0 down to seal a 3-2 win over Aston Villa and seal back-to-back Premier League titles in 2021/2022.

"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."

Txiki Begiristain, Director of Football at Manchester City, was full of praise for Gundogan and how he had carried himself both on and off the field for the current Premier League, FA Cup and European champions.

"Ilkay has been a wonderful servant for Manchester City, and he leaves our club on a very special high, having captained us to a historic Treble," said Begiristain.

"He has played a huge part in the successes we have enjoyed in recent seasons, and Ilkay's intelligence, leadership and commitment to the Club - both on and off the field - has been an inspiration to everyone.

"Ilkay has truly cemented his place in the history of Manchester City, and we all wish him well in the next chapter of his career.

"And he leaves us knowing that he will always be welcomed at this football club."

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