Digimagaz.com – Ilkay Gundogan, the newly introduced midfielder of Barcelona, unveiled on Monday at the club’s training ground how Xavi Hernandez played a crucial role in his decision to join the Catalan club. Gundogan expressed gratitude towards former Sporting Director Jordi Cruyff for his involvement in the deal, while also explaining that no words from Pep Guardiola could have persuaded him to stay at Manchester City. He shed light on what ultimately led him to leave the treble-winning team.
“Being a player for this club fills us with immense pride. Wearing this jersey was a dream of mine, and although I came close a couple of times before, it just wasn’t the right time. Fortunately, that moment arrived today, and I am extremely proud to be a Barcelona player.”
Gundogan joined a list of players in recent seasons who have cited Xavi as a significant factor in their decision to join Barcelona. This list includes Jules Kounde, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Pablo Torre, and Marcos Alonso.
“First and foremost, Xavi communicated his ideas clearly. It resonated with me because it closely resembled the philosophy I experienced at Manchester City. His straightforward approach, his character—I saw myself reflected in him, not just in terms of playing style but also in how he carried himself. From the very beginning, we established a strong connection. Sometimes, it’s not just what is said but how it is said that matters.”
It was also mentioned that Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Lewandowski had conversations with Gundogan to persuade him to join Barcelona.
“I spoke to Lewandowski before the holidays, and he shared his thoughts about the club, the Mediterranean lifestyle, the city, and what he personally enjoys about being a part of Barca. His words were impactful, and I could see the enthusiasm in his eyes. Although our conversation wasn’t very long, it left a lasting impression.”
“Ter Stegen also reached out to me. We had more extensive discussions while with the German national team, and I witnessed their happiness firsthand. I didn’t come to Barcelona solely based on their words, as I had already made my decision, but their input certainly helped.”
Xavi and Barcelona appear to have mastered the art of persuading new players, convincing them to reject other offers in favor of joining their ranks. The allure of the Mediterranean lifestyle naturally attracts many, but Xavi seems to have found a way to connect with players, even if the transition doesn’t always translate seamlessly onto the pitch.
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