'I was hurt for a long time' - Gundogan roots for Kloop's Liverpool as Champions League pain finally ebbs away

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The Manchester City midfielder opens up on the 'ache' that haunted him after his side's exit and where his loyalties lie this weekend

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan admits he has not stopped hurting since his side crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage in dramatic fashion.

The 28-year-old says he has not watched a minute of the tournament since that extraordinary evening against eventual finalists Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium, but is ready to break that rule for the Madrid showcase.

Gundogan also claims he’s ready to pass on his congratulations to fellow German Jurgen Klopp should Liverpool lift European football's biggest prize on Saturday.

City missed out on a semi-final double-header against Dutch champions Ajax amid heart-breaking scenes in mid-April, with what appeared to be a last-gasp Raheem Sterling winner ruled out for an earlier offside call against Sergio Aguero via VAR.

In a game of relentless drama, City won the fixture 4-3 – only to miss out on a place in the last four on the away goals rule following Tottenham’s slender 1-0 advantage from the first-leg.

Now, former Borussia Dortmund star Gundogan is finally ready to put the melancholy to bed and tune in for the all-English affair in the Spanish capital this weekend. But he freely admits it was a pain that took a long time to subside.

“I was hurt for a long time,” he told SID. “In fact, the ache has been hurting for a very long time.

“I really did not look at the games that followed, and dealt with other things.”

Though his team ended up pipping Liverpool to the Premier League title by just a single point, Gundogan says his sympathies will lean towards the Reds as they look to win the European Cup/Champions League for the sixth time in the club’s history.

And if it is the Scousers who are celebrating on Saturday night, their manager can expect a message of admiration and applause from the Gundogan household.
 
“For the final, of course I will look at the private circle,” he said.

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“If you win, you tend not to care, but should Jurgen Klopp win with Liverpool then I would definitely congratulate him in the days after that.”

Gundogan is set to remain at Manchester City this summer as he enters the last year of his contract, with the club unwilling to part with the German midfielder.

As a result, City will risk losing him on a free in 2020, but talks will continue over a new deal.

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