Guardiola Lists 10 Rare Qualities in Barcelona Star

"He was one of the smartest players I have coached in my career"
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Spanish coach Pep Guardiola of Manchester City believes that Ilkay Gundogan, Barcelona player and captain of the German national team, is one of the smartest players he has coached in his long career.

Gundogan was a key member of Manchester City's golden team, achieving all possible titles under Guardiola's leadership from 2016 to 2023.

Guardiola said in a statement: "Ilkay Gundogan is one of the smartest players I have coached in my career. He didn't speak much, but when he did, everyone listened intently, including myself as the coach. He was clear and direct in everything he said and contributed greatly to City's successes."

He added: "Gundogan has great abilities on the field. He is fast and good at long-range shots, but what sets him apart from his peers is his intelligence on the pitch."

Guardiola continued: "Ilkay was always able to make the right decision under any pressure and knew what the team needed at any time. This is the type of player I always look for. You only need to explain something to him once, and he understands and executes it immediately."

Guardiola noted that Gundogan can play in all midfield positions and deliver the same level of performance, in addition to his goal-scoring ability, which reached 15 goals in a season.

He concluded: "I mentioned many qualities about Gundogan. It is difficult to find a player like him who can play in small spaces. He can, for example, play as a playmaker behind the striker, but he also makes decisive passes to players on the flanks and wings."