Ilkay Gundogan to leave Manchester City following 'extra special season'

Germany international, 32, to join Spanish champions Barcelona after hugely successful seven years at the Etihad

Ilkay Gundogan captained Manchester City to a historic treble in 2022/23, including scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup final at Wembley on June 3, 2023. PA
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Ilkay Gundogan on Monday confirmed his exit from Manchester City, saying he will always carry the club in his heart.

It was reported last week that Gundogan, 32, had agreed to join Spanish champions Barcelona on a three-year contract.

It comes just weeks after the Germany midfielder captained Manchester City to the most successful season in the club's history, winning the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

“For me it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years,” Gundogan told the club's website.

“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."

City boss Pep Guardiola was a huge fan of Gundogan and was keen to keep the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder who played a key role in City's thrilling end to 2022/23, scoring six goals goals in his final seven appearances including a brace in the FA Cup final win over Manchester United.

But the club were reported to only be willing to offer Gundogan a new one-year contract with the option of a further 12 months to remain at the Etihad Stadium.

Gundogan, who joined City from Borussia Dortmund in 2016 for a fee of around £20 million, won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and four League Cups during his time at the club.

His final act in a City shirt was to lift the European Cup on June 10 as City beat Italy's Inter Milan 1-0 in the Champions League final in Istanbul. In total he made 304 appearances for City, scoring 60 goals.

“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," Gundogan added.

“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.”

Man City 2022/23 ratings

Reflecting on Gundogan’s contribution to City, director of football Txiki Begiristain said: “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.

“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.”

Barcelona won La Liga at a canter in 2022/23, finishing 10 points ahead of bitter rivals Real Madrid.

But Xavi's side disappointed in Europe, exiting the Champions League at the group stage for a second successive season and bowing out of the Europa League to Manchester United in a play-off.

Updated: June 26, 2023, 8:37 AM