Gundogan ready to be a mentor for Barca’s Gavi, Pedri

New FC Barcelona player Ilkay GundoganReuters

Barcelona’s new midfielder Ilkay Gundogan said it was an easy decision to join the Spanish giants mainly because of the role he expects to take as a mentor for the team’s young squad.

The German international, 32, was presented at Barcelona’s training facilities on Monday, following the signing of a two-year contract on a free transfer after his departure from Manchester City.

He captained the English club to the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble last season, ending a successful seven-year stint in England where he won 12 major trophies in total.

When asked about Barcelona’s youth and talent in midfield especially, Gundogan said he had a lot to offer the team with his experience.

“They are incredible, Gavi, Pedri, Luuk De Jong... I come with more experience because my life and my career have not been easy and I think my experience can help a lot,” Gundogan told a press conference.

New FC Barcelona player Ilkay Gundogan and FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta pose for a picture during the presentation on 17 July 2023

“They are a very talented young group of players who do better things than me. If I can give them at least 1 per cent, I’ll be happy.

“Even though I’m older, I’m prepared for the challenge and I still have a lot to prove.”

Having worked under former Barca manager Pep Guardiola at City, Gundogan expected an easy transition to life at the LaLiga champions with manager Xavi Hernandez.

“The style is very similar to what I played at City,” he said.

New FC Barcelona player Ilkay Gundogan shakes hands with children during the presentation

“Guardiola and Xavi are very similar. I felt a connection with Xavi from the first moment we talked. When I spoke to him I knew they were on the right track.

“It’s an incredible team and an opportunity to be able to play in a different league and in a different country.

“We will try to fight for the Champions League title. It is a responsibility to wear this shirt and I will try to give my best to win as many titles as possible.”