Ilkay Gundogan wrote his name in the history books as the captain that led Manchester City to an unprecedented treble. As captain, the German midfielder played a significant role on and off the pitch helping the Blues achieve immortality.
An outstanding professional and player, Pep Guardiola can sing his praise all day long. The City boss considers him a delight to work with for any manager and a role model for younger players.
Although the 33-year-old left City for Barcelona last summer, he is still held in high regard at the Etihad Stadium. The club has now decided to honour him for his meritorious service and outstanding performance by naming one of its training pitches after him.
That has been confirmed as club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak paid tribute to the player.
“On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mansour, on behalf of everyone associated with Manchester City, it is really my privilege and honour to unveil this mosaic that is a tribute to every accomplishment you’ve made as part of this Manchester City family over the years," Khaldoon said while dedicating the pitch to Gundogan.
“You have been an important leader, an important pillar of a part of history – of the history of this club that will never be forgotten.
“We are all so grateful, so thankful for the great memories you gave us – as the first Manchester City captain to lift the Champions League, as a player that’s lifted five Premier Leagues, so many trophies as part of his journey with the club.
“But beyond these great accomplishments as a football player, your accomplishments as a leader, both in the club and in the community is never going to be forgotten.
“Today I want to thank you on behalf of everyone associated with the club and this mosaic is our gift to you to keep you part of the history of this club, of this institution, a place that you can come and always know that you have left an important stamp that will be never forgotten.”
Gundogan’s seven years at City were laden with silverware. A five-time Premier League champion, two-time FA Cup winner, lifted the League Cup four times and ultimately the Champions League. He is well and truly a City legend and a Premier League icon.
He laid a good example while at City for players who will come to the club to learn from. His application to work and exemplary character are worthy of emulation and will inspire others to do their best for the club.
He created many iconic moments while at City that will be remembered for years to come. One of such was his title-winning brace on the final day of the 2021/22 season against Aston Villa. With City heading for defeat late into the encounter which would have meant losing the title, he produced some magical moments late on, scoring twice to win the game.
His second goal was reminiscent of Sergio Aguero’s legendary 2012 title-clinching strike. And it will be remembered alongside as another outstanding moment in the history of the club.
Another two all-important goals in the FA Cup final against Manchester United last season made the treble possible.
Although he has now moved on to Barcelona, he remains a Cityzen forever.