The sun always shines after the storm and he knows that very well Ilkay Gundoganwho lived through times of affliction a few years ago, but today has once again overflowed with joy with the Germany national team with his first goal in a World Cup. The key? Not having thrown in the towel at the worst moment of his career.
Gundogan’s career, itself, has been full of obstacles. Constant injuries repeatedly took him away from the pitches, but none tormented him as much as the one he suffered on August 14, 2013, when he was a member of Borussia Dortmund. That day began a real tribulation for him.
While the German midfielder, the son of Turkish parents, was playing a game with his team —a friendly against Paraguay (3-3)—, out of nowhere he began to feel back pain, which forced him to leave the field after 27 minutes. game, just nine minutes after scoring a goal.
Initially, it was thought that the injury was not serious. But it was a total mistake. The pain, far from disappearing, intensified over the weeks. And it is that Gundogan had suffered a delicate dislocation in the spine. His spinal nervous system was severely affected.
So the German midfielder had to work hard on his recovery. In fact, he hoped to play again as soon as possible, but his return was delayed much longer than he expected. Uncertainty inevitably washed over him.
At that time, at just 23 years old, Gündogan was already one of the great figures in German football. He was shaping up to be one of Joachim Löw’s most special cards for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but unfortunately his dream of lifting the title with the German squad —champion in that edition— was frustrated by the same injury.
The player’s anguish was immense. His career was in jeopardy after a surgeon and a screw almost forced him to hang up his toes. After the operation, he was not going to be the same again, but fortunately he found a light in the midst of the darkness.
“The worst part was that no one really knew what type of injury it was. I saw a surgeon and he wanted to put a big screw in my back that would not allow me to play football at this level. So I was afraid that I would never play again and I am very grateful that I found the right surgeon. Of course, I still have some problems, but I feel good enough.”the German told in an interview in ‘The Guardian’ last year.
In total, Gundogan was absent 428 long days, which at some point seemed eternal. In that course, the German missed 59 games with Borussia Dortmund. But he came back. And that’s the most important.
|more serious injuries||Recovery time||lost games|
|Spinal compression (2013/14)||428 days||59 matches (Borussia Dortmund)|
|Patella luxation (2015/16)||133 days||10 games (Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City)|
|Cruciate ligament tear (2016/17)||241 days||31 games (Manchester City)|
The resurgence and its revenge with Germany
After overcoming the injury, Gündogan returned to the pitch and continued his adventure at Dortmund. He already supported him by having won a Bundesliga, a German Cup and a German Super Cup to continue being a protagonist. Little by little he was resuming his level and that is why the black-and-yellow team wanted to keep him for as long as possible, but they could not do anything in the face of the various offers that were presented to the player.
Pep Guardiola, who constantly suffered from the talent of the German midfielder during his time as Bayern Munich coach, decided to take it to England when he signed as Manchester City manager. Gundogan did not hesitate and agreed to arrive at the Etihad alongside the strategist.
Unfortunately, the first season of the German midfielder with the ‘Citizens’ was unfortunate. He first suffered a dislocated kneecap and, later, a torn cruciate ligament, which kept him away from the courts for a long time, but not as much as in 2013/14. He was barely able to play 16 matches in his debut campaign in the Premier.
However, despite the adversities, Gündogan always had the backing of Pep Guardiola. Sampedor’s coach is aware of the enormous quality and contribution of his player, which is why he never let go of his hand, nor will he. And so began the real revival of German.
In six seasons with Manchester City, the 31-year-old midfielder has quietly stood out, being one of the main figures in Pep’s scheme. So far, he has won 11 titles: four Premier League, four League Cup, two Community Shield and one FA Cup.
So also today we see him shining with his team. After not being able to play in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Gündogan was present in Russia 2018, although he was only able to play one game (the 2-1 victory against Sweden). He is now one of the stars of Germany in Qatar 2022, where he already had a dream debut.
The German ’21’ scored his first goal in a World Cup, hitting from 11 steps with a great definition, and thus opened the triumphant path of his team in Qatar 2022. Surely, he will continue to be a key player in the glorious intentions of the Hansi Flick team.
I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have a keen interest in sports and have written for many different publications. I am currently working as an author at 24 News Recorder. I cover mostly sports news but also write about other topics such as current affairs and politics. I have a strong interest in social media and how it can be used to engage with audiences.