Barcelona sign Ilkay Gundogan on free transfer from Man City

German midfielder joins the Catalan team after captaining Manchester City to their first Champions League title.

Ilkay Gundogan, centre, leaves City having made more than 300 appearances, scoring 60 goals and grabbing 40 assists in all competitions [File: Sedat Suna/EPA]

Barcelona have signed Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer after his departure from treble winners Manchester City with the German midfielder signing a two-year contract, the La Liga club said.

The 32-year-old has a contract until June 2025 with an option for a further year, while the Spanish champions also said on Monday they had included a buyout clause of 400 million euros ($436 million).

Gundogan left City after captaining 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 14 trophies, including five league titles.

“For me it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years,” Gundogan said in a statement. “Manchester has been my home and I have felt part of a very special family at City.

“I have been lucky to have experienced so many unforgettable moments in my time here and to have been captain for this extra special season has been the greatest experience of my career.”

Gundogan was Pep Guardiola’s first recruit when he took over the reins at City in 2016 despite the German being sidelined with a knee injury when he was signed from Borussia Dortmund, where he won the Bundesliga and German Cup in 2012.

He proved to be the man for the big occasion at City, especially over the last two seasons when he scored crucial goals that helped them seal several trophies.

Gundogan leaves City having made more than 300 appearances, scoring 60 goals and grabbing 40 assists in all competitions.

City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain said Gundogan had been “an inspiration to everyone”.

“Ilkay has truly cemented his place in the history of Manchester City and we all wish him well in the next chapter of his career,” he added.

His experience will be invaluable to Barca coach Xavi after long-serving midfielder Sergio Busquets left at the end of the season after 18 years with the Catalan outfit.

Barcelona won the La Liga title last season but failed to get out of the group stage in the Champions League and were knocked out in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

Source: News Agencies