Ilkay Gundogan

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Personal information

Full Name Ilkay Gundogan
Born 24 October 1990
Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Position(S) Midfielder

Club information

Current team Manchester City
Number 8

Ilkay Gundogan is a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Germany national team.

Gundogan was born in Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia to Turkish parents. His grandfather on his father’s side was a “guest worker” who moved from Balıkesir, Turkey, to the Ruhr region of Germany to work as a miner. During this time, his wife stayed in Turkey with his children where they grew up and went to school. In 1979, Gundogan’s father Irfan and his siblings came to Germany by family reunification, where he also found a job a short time later.

Gundogan moved from VfL Bochum to 1. FC Nurnberg in 2009. In his fourth Bundesliga match, on 19 September 2009, away against Bayern Munich, he made his first assist. His first goal for the side came on 20 February 2010 in a home match, again against Bayern Munich.


Personal Life

Gundogan’s cousin Naz Aydemir, who is raised in Turkey, is a volleyball player for Fenerbahçe and the Turkish women’s national team.

In May 2018, Gundogan met President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan in London, along with Mesut Özil and Cenk Tosun, two other English-based, German-born players of Turkish origin. Gundogan was criticised for referring to the statesman as “my president”, despite only being a citizen of Germany. The incident caused political controversy in Germany and Gundogan was jeered by German fans when playing for the national team weeks later.

In October 2019, following Cenk Tosun’s goal in a 1–0 home victory over Albania in a Euro 2020 qualifier, the Turkish international published a photograph on Instagram in which Tosun stated support for soldiers involved in the Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria against Kurdish forces. The post was initially liked by Emre Can and Gundogan, who are both German internationals of Turkish descent; however, they both later removed their likes. Regarding the incident, Gundogan commented: “I took the like back when I saw that it was judged to be political,” also adding: “Believe me, after what happened last year, the last thing I wanted was to make a political statement.” Finally, he noted: “What is true is that I was pleased for my former Germany U21 teammate [Tosun] that he scored the winning goal.”


Club Career

  • Borussia Dortmund

On 5 May 2011, it was announced Gundogan had signed a four-year contract with Borussia Dortmund for an approximate transfer fee of €4 million. He made his debut on 23 July in the DFL-Supercup against Schalke 04. After a goalless draw at the Veltins-Arena, he scored their first attempt in the penalty shootout, although Kevin Großkreutz and Ivan Perišić missed to hand Schalke the victory.

On 17 December, Gundogan scored his first goal for Dortmund in a 4–1 victory away to SC Freiburg. He played once for the club’s reserves on 22 February 2012, being replaced at half time by Rico Benatelli in an eventual 2–1 win over 1. FC Kaiserslautern II at the Stadion Rote Erde.

On 28 April 2015, Gundogan and Sebastian Kehl scored in a penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich which sent Dortmund into the DFB-Pokal Final. Two days later, it was announced he and Borussia Dortmund would not be extending their contract after it expired after 30 July 2016. However, on 1 July 2015, he signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2017.

  • Manchester City

On 2 June 2016, Gundogan signed a four-year contract with Premier League side Manchester City, for an estimated fee of £20 million. He was the club’s first signing under former Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola.

He made his debut on 14 September, playing for the first time in four months in a UEFA Champions League group stage game at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach. City won 4–0, and he won a penalty which was converted by Sergio Agüero. Three days later, Gundogan started and scored with a low, right-foot shot against AFC Bournemouth in a 4–0 win at the City of Manchester Stadium.

On 16 September 2017, Gundogan made his first appearance for Manchester City in nine months, appearing as a substitute in the team’s 6–0 Premier League win at Watford. Three months later, he scored his first goal of the season with a header, assisted by Leroy Sané, which gave City the lead in a 4–1 win against Tottenham Hotspur.

On 12 February 2021, he received Premier League Player of the Month for his outstanding performances throughout January. On 12 March 2021, he received the Premier League Player of the Month for a second consecutive month, with four goals and one assist in five games. In doing so, he became the first player for Manchester City to win back-to-back awards for the club. He ended the season as Manchester City’s highest goalscorer of the premier league season with 13 goals.

International Career

After years of playing for the different youth teams, Gundogan received his first call-up to the Germany senior team in August 2011 for a friendly match against Brazil, but did not feature in the game. On 11 October, he made his debut for Germany after coming on as a substitute for captain Philipp Lahm for the last six minutes of the 3–1 win against Belgium in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match at the Esprit Arena, Dusseldorf.

On May 2012, he was selected by manager Joachim Low for the German 23-man squad for UEFA Euro 2012 and was given the number two shirt. Germany reached the semi-finals, but Gundogan did not feature.

On 26 March 2013, Gundogan scored his first goal for Germany in a 4–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan at the Grundig Stadion, Nuremberg. He scored his second goal in his next match, a friendly on 14 August at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion, Kaiserslautern, as Germany came from 0–2 down to draw 3–3 against Paraguay.

On 6 May 2016, it was announced Gundogan would be unable to participate at the Euro 2016 final stages due to injury. He did, however, make the team’s preliminary squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia which was announced in May 2018. On 4 June 2018, Gundogan was selected in Joachim Low’s final 23-man squad for the World Cup. On 19 May 2021, he was selected to the squad for the UEFA Euro 2020.

Style of Play

In his earlier years, Gundogan was often deployed as a wide midfielder, but later established himself in a more central role at Dortmund. Regarding this positional switch,

Gundogan :

“I came to the conclusion that playing wide wasn’t my strength. I feel fine playing as a defensive or central midfielder, but I also believe that I can hold my own as a playmaker.”

At Manchester City, Gundogan further demonstrated his diverse qualities, including his vision, work-rate, technical skills, and versatility, by being deployed in a variety of midfield positions, including in a holding role. Although he was not as productive as his other midfield teammates statistically, specifically in terms of the number of goals and assists he recorded, he drew praise in the media for his ability to circulate possession and create space for other players. Despite his ability, however, he has often struggled with injuries throughout his career.


Honours

Borussia Dortmund

  • Bundesliga: 2011–12
  • DFB-Pokal: 2011–12
  • DFL-Supercup: 2013
  • UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2012–13

Manchester City

  • Premier League: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2020–21
  • FA Cup: 2018–19
  • EFL Cup: 2017–18, 2018–19, 2019–20, 2020–21
  • FA Community Shield: 2018, 2019
  • UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2020–21

Individual

  • kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2012–13
  • ESM Team of the Year: 2012–13, 2020–21
  • PFA Premier League Team of the Year: 2020–21
  • Premier League Player of the Month: January 2021, February 2021
  • UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season: 2020–21
What is the name of Ilkay Gundogan’s girlfriend?

Ilkay Gundogan’s girlfriend name is Sara Arfaoui. She is a model and TV presenter by profession.

When did Ilkay Gundogan joined Manchester City?

On 2 June 2016, Gundogan signed a four-year contract with Premier League side Manchester City, for an estimated fee of £20 million. He was the club’s first signing under former Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola.

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