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Ilkay Gundogan reveals special relationship between Manchester City star and Pep Guardiola



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Former Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan has revealed a special bond between midfielder Rodri and manager Pep Guardiola.

The midfield pair clashed in the quarter-finals of the European Championship on Friday evening, as host nation Germany suffered a last-gasp extra-time defeat to Spain at the MHPArena in Stuttgart.

Rodri and Gundogan both started the last-eight tie, with Spain securing a dramatic 2-1 win through Mikel Merino’s 119th minute header, after Germany forced extra-time with a late strike from Florian Wirtz.

Spain and Rodri are set to face France in the semi-finals next week, with Didier Deschamps’ side having successfully overcome Portugal on penalties on Friday night at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

Rodri and Gundogan clashed on the international stage having previously played alongside each other on 149 occasions for Manchester City, with the Spaniard’s goal against Inter Milan last June having helped the German star lift a maiden UEFA Champions League.

Both players were also famously on the scoresheet against Aston Villa in 2022, when Guardiola’s side came back from 0-2 down to win the Premier League title at the Etihad Stadium with a stunning 3-2 comeback victory.

Gundogan left east Manchester following the Blues’ treble success last summer, choosing against signing a new contract with the club in favour of completing a free transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona.

Prior to Friday’s quarter-final, the 33-year-old revealed a special relationship between manager Guardiola and former teammate Rodri.

“I still remember when he came to Manchester. After training, he would sometimes spend half an hour talking to Pep. He has simply learned and perfected his game,” said the German midfielder.

“He’s the best player in the world in his position. You can never take someone like him out for 90 minutes, but you can make him think and doubt.”

Rodri is the first Manchester City player to have reached the semi-finals of the Euro’s, with five players bidding to reach the last-four on Saturday, when England face Switzerland and Holland play Turkey.