Gundogan: Everyone’s friendly to me in Manchester – even the United fans!

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has told FourFourTwo that he has loved life in England since completing his move from Borussia Dortmund last year.

Gundogan helped Dortmund win a German league and cup double in 2011/12 – and scored in their 2013 Champions League Final defeat to Bayern Munich at Wembley – before joining Pep Guardiola’s side in a deal worth around £20 million.

Speaking exclusively in the September 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, he says the time was right to challenge himself abroad, and that he is embracing his new surroundings and being able to mix with fans from both sides of the divide.

It was time to start in a new country, in a new city, so when I had the opportunity to join Man City, I wasn’t afraid of it for one second. Being able to go out to a restaurant, or some bars, or to have a coffee somewhere is great. Everyone is friendly to me – even Man United supporters!

“I enjoyed the time that I spent in Germany – I won a lot of trophies and appreciated my time there – but, for me, it was the right time to move on and try something new,” he explains.

“It was time to start in a new country, in a new city, so when I had the opportunity to join Man City, I wasn’t afraid of it for one second. I was excited and just wanted to take my chance.

“I live in the city centre, so being able to go out to a restaurant, or some bars, or to have a coffee somewhere is great. Everyone is friendly to me – even Man United supporters!”

Although he bagged a brace in a Champions League group stage victory over Barcelona last November, the 26-year-old was restricted to just 15 appearances for his new employers in 2016/17 after tearing cruciate ligaments in his right knee.

Now nearing full fitness and a return to first-team action, Gundogan is targeting a successful campaign at the Etihad Stadium and going to the World Cup in Russia.

I just want to be fit and be able to end the season, and then play for Germany at the World Cup. There is a lot for me to look forward to and it's all really exciting. Hopefully it will be a good year

“At the moment [my aim] is simply to get fully fit as fast as possible and get back to the level that I was at before my injury – and then maybe get even better,” he says. “I just want to be fit and be able to end the season, and then play for Germany at the World Cup. There is a lot for me to look forward to and it’s all really exciting. Hopefully it will be a good year.”

Read more from Ilkay Gundogan in the September 2017 issue of FourFourTwo.

Accompanied by our 100-page Season Preview – rating 104 teams – the magazine features the 99 things we want from the new campaign, including interviews with Christian Eriksen, David Alaba and Yannick Bolasie. Plus, we go One-on-One with William Gallas, hit the Lake District to watch Football League players get put through a gruelling pre-season boot camp, reflect on Brighton’s 20-year rise from the brink of non-league to the top flight, remember the gaffes, garish kits and cheerleaders from the Premier League’s inaugural season and ask 'Where have all the goalmouth scrambles gone?' Order your copy today here and then become a subscriber here.