Ballon d’Or between Messi and Haaland, says Gundogan

25 July 2023 - 9:45 am

Ilkay Gundogan, summer signing for Barcelona, gave an interview with ‘Mundo Deportivo’ in Los Angeles, at his team’s hotel.

The ex-Man City midfielder covered a range of topics, including the differences between Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez, as well as the upcoming Ballon d’Or, which he sees going to either Leo Messi or Erling Haaland, but is mostly glad he doesn’t have to be the one to decide.

Ilkay Gundogan has embarked on his first pre-season with Barcelona, following his move from Manchester City earlier this summer. The team are in Los Angeles, on the Soccer Champions Tour, where they will play a series of friendly matches ahead of the new campaign.

The German gave an interview from his team’s hotel in LA, covering a range of topics, including the similarities and differences between his former manager Pep Guardiola and his new boss, Xavi Hernandez.

“You can see they come from the same school of thought, that Pep was influenced by Xavi and his game”, said the midfielder. “Obviously, as well the ‘Barca school’; possession, don’t lose the ball, trying to create chances, play smartly, finding spaces … many of the things we do here are similar to what we did at City”.

As for the Ballon d’Or, which will be presented again in October 2023, Gundogan has two clear frontrunners, and is mainly happy he doesn’t have to decide between them himself.

“I think the race is between Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland. I don’t see anyone else close to them. They both had a great season, they both won titles,” he declared. “I’m glad I’m not the one to decide, but I think either one of them would deserve it”.