Manchester City star Ilkay Gundogan has opened up on the honest conversation and question he posed to manager Pep Guardiola, upon joining the club in the summer of 2016, during an exclusive conversation with The Players' Tribune.
The German international opened up on a number of topics, including his rise within the professional game, as well as his first contacts with his current coach at the Etihad Stadium.
The pair have made it abundantly clear on previous occasions of the mutual respect between eachother, and during the conversation with The Players' Tribune, Gundogan opened up on the disbelief he held upon being targeted by Pep Guardiola and the Manchester City board back in 2016.
Despite the interest from the club, Ilkay Gundogan recalls the time when he wanted extra reassurance of the interest, specifically from the man himself - Pep Guardiola.
The now 30 year-old has spoken out about the one question he was dying to ask the former Barcelona coach during their first conversations ahead of a City switch for the Borussia Dortmund star.
"Even when it became clear that City were going to sign me, I wanted to be assured about this. I remember going to meet Pep for the first time, just before I signed, and I had this question that I wanted to ask him", Gundogan said.
"I could have asked him about tactics, or about all the times we had faced each other. I could have asked him about the great plans he had for City. But as we sat down, I just had this one question."
"I think I just blurted it out. I said, “Do you really want me?” Like really really?"
Despite claiming to already know the answer to the question, given the interest in his signature at Manchester City, Gundogan revealed how he simply wanted to hear the interest being explicitly said from a coach he had admired throughout his playing days in Germany.
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Gundogan continued, "Of course I knew the answer. Why would he meet me in person if he didn’t want me? But I just wanted to know. I needed to hear him say it."
The Manchester City star closed by disclosing their relationship in the North-West, after working alongside one another for over five years now.
"Pep and I have been working together for five years now, and we have a very good understanding. Even when I ruptured my cruciate ligament in December 2016 and was out for eight months, he had no doubt that I would recover my best form."
You can read the full conversation between Gundogan and The Players' Tribune here.
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