Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez has described Ilkay Gundogan as a special gift sent from heaven.
He made this assertion on the backdrop of his impressive display in the team’s 5-0 thrashing of Royal Antwerp in Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League.
The former Manchester City captain did not start over the weekend against Betis, but did leave his mark on this match, freuqently involved in swift exchanges of the ball on the edge of the box that cut Antwerp open.
There were perhaps hints of what he could bring in just his second match in that regard, sliding Pedri into space from a similar spot for the opening goal against Cadiz. Previously it was only the Canary Islander that had shown he was capable of regularly producing those passes.
In a chat with Marca, Xavi noted that the German is a superlative footballer.
“He [Gundogan] is the same as Gavi, he can play on the right, left, at the base [of midfield]… When he has the ball everything improves,” Xavi told Marca.
“He has fallen to us from heaven. He is a superlative footballer. It is wonderful to see him play.”
Gündoğan married Sara Arfaoui in 2022 and they have one child. Gündoğan’s cousin Naz Aydemir is a volleyball player.[
In May 2018, Gündoğan met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in London, along with Mesut Özil and Cenk Tosun, two other England-based, German-born players of Turkish descent. Gündoğan was criticised for referring to Erdoğan as “my president”, despite not being a citizen of Turkey. The incident caused political controversy in Germany, and Gündoğan was jeered by German fans when playing for the national team weeks later.