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İlkay Gündoğan, one of the world's finest midfielders of the last decade or so, is joining FC Barcelona. Here are ten basic facts that if you didn't know already, you will certainly need to know now!
1. İlkay Gündoğan is a German national of Turkish descent. His parents were both from Turkey, but he was born in Gelsenkirchen on 24 October 1990. He has played at full international level for Germany since 2011, having played at two World Cups and two European Championships.
2. He thus becomes the 18th German to feature for Barça, a number that includes 11 who played for the club before 1915. In the 21st century there have been three others, namely Robert Enke (2002-03), Marc-André ter Stegen (2014-present) and Kevin-Prince Boateng (2019), the latter also a Ghanaian national.
3. Gündoğan made his pro debut with Nürnberg in Bundesliga 2, and helped the Bavarian side to promotion into the top flight. His first Bundesliga goal came against Bayern Munich. He still claims to primarily be a Nürnberg supporter today.
4. Now 32 years old, he has played in three Champions League finals. He scored a penalty for Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 final but ultimately lost to Bayern Munich, and he was also on the losing side when Man City were beaten by Chelsea in 2021. He finally got to celebrate the coveted title this year when Man City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in Istanbul.
5. That was also his last ever game in the Man City jersey after seven seasons in sky blue. He has captained the Citizens since 2022, taking the role from Fernandinho. In fact, he was very first signing of the Josep Guardiola era, and together they have gone on to win 14 major titles.
6. Gündoğan is the first defending champion of Europe to join Barça since Deco in 2004, who had just won the Champions League with Oporto.
7. Gündoğan has had three particularly illustrious coaches in football. These have been Jürgen Klopp (2011 to 2015 at Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Tuchel (2015/16 at Borussia Dortmund) and Pep Guardiola (2016 to 2023 at Manchester City). And his new boss will be the great Xavi Hernández.
8. Gündoğan is the 13th player to have represented both Manchester City and Barça. The most recent examples have been Sergio Agüero, Eric Garcia (also as free agents) and Ferran Torres. Gündoğan is also the 7th player to have been at both Borussia Dortmund and Barça. In fact, between 2011 and 2014, he and Robert Lewandowski were at Borussia together.
9. His cousin Naz Aydemi is a pro volleyball player who represented Turkey at the 2012 and 2021 Olympics.
10. Gündoğan is also famed for his philanthropy. In 2021 he donated money to a tree-planting campaign after some devastating floods in Germany, and to a similar project following forest fires in Turkey around the same time. He has also donated several personal items, such as shirts and boots, to help raise money for environmental sustainability programmes, an issue that concerns him very especially.
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