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İlkay Gündoğan was presented this Monday as a Barça player at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, including his first touches of a ball wearing the iconic blaugrana strip. "I've followed this club since I was a teenager" he said with a beaming grin on his face, saying he was an especially huge admirer of Ronaldinho. "And I am so proud to be able to defend these colours. It's been a dream since I was young."
Gündoğan also commented that “I feel reflected in Xavi, and that also includes the way he played. I've had a brilliant connection with him since the very first moment.” He made it clear that he will be taking a more defensive or attacking role in the midfield depending on what he and his coach decide would be best for the team.
I've followed this club since I was a teenager. It's a dream since I was young“ İlkay Gündoğan
“I won't have much time to adapt but I think I'm the kind of player who can adapt very quickly" he continued. He has also spoken to two old friends in Lewandowski and Ter Stegen, with whom he has played many times before. “When they told me about Barça and the city, I could see the shine in their eyes. It was a very powerful message although it didn't affect my decision. I always wanted to come here."
And Gündoğan is aiming high. “This team has just won the league, but we need more this coming season. We have Champions League potential and we'll try to win it. It won't be easy, but I love a challenge ... We have a great combination of top youngsters and experienced veterans, and that's the kind of blend that wins titles."
Before the new star took the mike, president Joan Laporta spoke about now much the club had targeted him as signing. Xavi Hernández always had him at the very top of his shopping list. And Laporta also spoke about how grateful he was that Gündoğan has turned down much bigger financial offers to come to the club his heart wanted.
Mateu Alemany agreed that this had been a 'slow-burning' signing that the club had been working on recruiting for a long time.
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