SportsIlkay Gundogan: “I feel comfortable in the invisible”

    Ilkay Gundogan: “I feel comfortable in the invisible”

    Ilkay Gundogan (Gelsenkirchen, Germany; 32 years old) was the last captain to lift the Champions League. From Pep Guardiola’s fantastic City to Xavi Hernandez’s Barcelona under construction, the midfielder does not change his way of understanding football. “I love this game, I was going to sleep with the ball,” he says. He appears in the press room of the Barca Sports City five minutes before what was agreed. He speaks slowly, but clearly; He is not pretentious. His passing in front of the tape recorder seems like an extension of his football. The son of Turkish immigrants, Gundogan has become the new captain of the German team.

    Ask. Does it represent the symbol of integration?

    Answer. As a German, but of Turkish origin, I have had a multicultural perspective since I was born. I have lived different cultures and, obviously, different ways of understanding life. Then I spent seven years in England. And again, a new cultural experience. That has made me a more open person, someone who has learned more from other human beings. And it allows me to not only understand people more, but also understand myself more. I know many people, for example, who were born in Germany and only lived in Germany. The same thing happens to me with people in Turkiye. They were born in Turkiye and never moved. They don’t know anything else. So it is difficult for them to understand certain aspects of foreigners and other cultures. I think traveling is one of the most important things. And, when I talk about traveling, I mean interacting and experiencing other cultures. Because when you do it you learn about life. You probably don’t become a smarter person, but you do become a more empathetic person.

    Q. What is German and what is Turkish?

    R. My mentality is very German. Train hard every day, be consistent… Always give the best version of myself, both in the small aspects, which seem unimportant, and in the big ones, which are. I am very focused on details, on discipline.

    Q. Do you enjoy it?

    R. Most of the time, yes. I’ve won many titles in my life: Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League… But what happens to me is that instead of sitting back and enjoying it, instead of celebrating it and living in the moment, whenever I win something, I’m left thinking. What will be the new challenge? How can I motivate myself and continue improving. And that makes me afraid of regretting it in the future, of not having taken the time necessary to enjoy it. The same thing happens to me in training. When I go to train I am nervous.

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    Q. At your age?

    R. Yes. I see training in a similar way to games. I don’t want to make mistakes. I want every pass to be the right one. Everything has to be perfect. After each session I start to think: what was good, what was bad…

    Q. And what is Turkish about it?

    R. The emotions. And, of course, in my personal life, I give a lot of importance to family and friends.

    Q. He has a multiculturalism that also seems reflected in his game: he can play as a 6, an 8, a 10 and even a 9.

    R. If we generalize, we find two types of footballers. The ones who change the game, who are the ones who score goals, make assists and do special things on the field. In short, those of the highlights. And then there are the footballers who don’t shine as much on an individual level, who seem invisible. But, if you ask the rest of your colleagues, even those who stand out, they will tell you that they are the most important. Those who make things simple for everyone. Those who improve their colleagues. Like Busquets, for example.

    Q. Where do you feel most comfortable: in the brightness or in the invisible?

    R. I think in the invisible. It’s more in line with my personality. I’m not a person who needs attention. It is not important to me. I know what I’m capable of and what I’m not capable of. To become a great player, you have to know what you do well and how you can introduce those things you do well into the team. I am a flexible and adaptable player, who can change even during the same match, always for the benefit of the team.

    Q. Is it a way to lead?

    R. A silent leadership. Sometimes it seems that if you don’t attract attention or if you don’t shout you will never be classified as a leader. For me, a leader is the one who changes the rhythm of the team, the one who changes the dynamics of a game. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be loud. There are people who talk a lot and no one listens to them. And yet, there are others who speak little, but when they do, everyone pays attention to them. And that characteristic is what a leader must have.

    Q. Do they listen to you?

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    R. I only speak when I think there is something important to say.

    Q. In today’s football, is it possible to dissociate the game from the marketing?

    R. It is what it is, right? In recent years, quantifying followers on social networks has become important. You can play badly, but if you upload a video of a good action, people will think that you played an incredible game. But it also has to do with the new generations: they enjoy this type of things more. You throw a pipe and people say “wow”, but maybe that pipe doesn’t help any situation in the game.

    Gundogan poses for EL PAIS.
    Gundogan poses for EL PAIS. Kike Rincon (Kike Rincon)

    Q. Do you think that if you had been more present on social networks you would have won any awards?

    R. We have to be honest, if someone has a lot of followers on social networks and has a good season, they will have more benefits than someone who doesn’t. That is a reality.

    Q. Are you sorry that it is like this?

    R. In the end, this is a business. But maybe it’s a little sad that it’s gotten to that point.

    Q. Isn’t football a game?

    R. For many people in our sport this is a business. And it is especially so for the people who decide things and for those who are very influential. But, for me and for many other people, football is a passion. I love the game. But I think when I was young I loved him more than I do now.

    Q. However, in Manchester people who know you say that you will be a great coach.

    R. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think I have potential. I was lucky, too. I have worked with the best coaches. I spent seven years with Guardiola, four with Klopp and one year with Tuchel. And now I have Xavi. These types of personalities, in some way or another, influence you. I’ve seen a lot of things to become a good coach, but I’m not 100% sure I want my life to go in that direction.

    Q. Because? Do you prefer to continue playing Football Managerr?

    R. It is also something that I really like . Definitely, I want to continue linked to football. But I also find other things interesting. It’s not just what happens on the field that catches my attention. For example, I like sports management. I have already done a coaching course and now I am doing a business course in football. In this way, I will have a look at both aspects. That can help me decide.

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    Q. Is it true that you have always been aware of Barca?

    R. Yes. For me, as a midfielder, it was impossible not to pay attention to a team in which Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets played. The way they played, how they moved on the field. I loved the Ronaldinho era and, of course, also Messi.

    Q. Did you mention it to Xavi?

    R. I don’t think so. But I’m sure she knows. We are very similar in the way we think about football.

    Gundogan, during the interview-
    Gundogan, during the interview-Kike Rincon (Kike Rincon)

    Q. What is Xavi like as a coach?

    R. It’s really very good. And he has proven it. With all the difficulties that the club is going through, winning the League and Super Cup was a great success. And I think the main credit goes to the coach. When things go wrong we quickly look at the technician, however, when things go well we forget to do so. And, now that I work with him, when I see him speak before and during games, there are many things that are the same as how I see them or how I was used to doing it with Pep at City. This season we are playing good football. It is true that we have conceded some goals in a couple of games, mistakes that cannot be made at the highest level, especially now facing the Champions League, but I am impressed with Xavi’s work. And, in fact, I think he’s going to get better.

    Q. Do you think you can lift the Champions League again?

    R. I have been at City for seven years, obviously I compare things and although we don’t always win everything, in the last two or three years we had managed to have a very consistent way of playing. I would like to win the Champions League again, but I know that the reality at Barcelona is different. We are in a learning process. We have a very young team, but with a lot of potential. The quality is there.

    Q. Is it potential and not reality?

    R. It is a process. We’ll see what our reality is and how we deal with certain aspects of the game and the matches. I am here to help. To bring just that mentality, that calm to my teammates. It is very important to control the tempos of the games. Because when you are able to do that, the rivals will have a much more difficult time.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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