Ilkay Gundogan has reflected on his “bittersweet” exit from Manchester City after the club’s treble-winning captain confirmed his move to Barcelona at the end of his contract.
Gundogan departs City after seven years at the club having played a major part in the most successful season of in the club’s history.
The Germany international lifted the club’s first Champions League title following a 1-0 win against Inter in his final game with the club, after scoring key goals in City’s Premier League and FA Cup victories – including a double in the 2-1 win against Manchester United at Wembley.
The 32-year-old won five Premier League titles with City after arriving from Borussia Dortmund as City manager Pep Guardiola’s first signing. Gundogan has signed a two-year contract with Barcelona, the Spanish champions, with the option of a further year at the Nou Camp.
“Today is bittersweet,” Gundogan said in a piece published on the Players’ Tribune. “Goodbyes are never easy, but it’s even harder with this team.
“When I had to break the news to the boys that I was leaving in our group chat, I was very emotional.
“I will miss all of them, honestly. But I am happy to say that I’m leaving here as a champion, and I have nothing but love for the club in my heart. How many footballers can say goodbye as the captain of a treble team?
“It’s amazing what we achieved. Five Premier League titles in my seven years here. Two FA Cups. The Champions League. The treble.
“But those are just trophies. The thing that I will remember the most is the feeling inside the squad, especially this season. I’ve never experienced something like it in football.”
Manchester City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said Gundogan had “cemented his place in the history” of the club as he paid tribute to the midfielder.
“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,” Begiristain told Man City’s website.
“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.”