Ilkay Gundogan Manchester CityGetty Images

'Gundogan one of the most intelligent players I've ever seen' - Guardiola lauds 'incredible' Man City star

Pep Guardiola has lauded "incredible" Manchester City star Ilkay Gundogan, describing him as "one of the most intelligent players I have ever seen".

Gundogan netted his 15th goal of the season to help City record a 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Guardiola's side progressed to the last eight of the competition 4-0 on aggregate after the win, and the Catalan singled out Gundogan for special praise in his post-match interview.

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What's been said?

"He’s always had a sense of [where the] goal [is], playing for [Borussia] Dortmund," Guardiola told reporters.

"He’s an incredibly nice guy. He’s one of the… I will never forget the time we spent together. As a player he is one of the most intelligent, wisest players I have ever trained, I have ever seen.

"This season, every time he has arrived near the goal, he has scored the goal, he has this quality but not just that. I'm so delighted with the performance from Ilkay again and from all of the team."

Gundogan's stellar 2020-21 campaign

Gundogan has played a crucial role in City's success under Guardiola since joining the club in 2016, but was primarily known for his skills as an enforcer in midfield prior to the current season.

Guardiola has deployed the German further forward as his team have embarked on their latest pursuit of silverware across multiple fronts, and he has rewarded his manager's faith by delivering the goods week in, week out.

Gundogan has scored 12 goals in 23 Premier League outings and three in seven Champions League appearances, while also setting up a further three for his team-mates.

The 30-year-old is now being mentioned as a leading contender for the PFA Player of the Year award, as City continue their unprecedented quadruple bid.

Gundogan masterminds Gladbach's downfall

Gundogan was at his best once again in both attack and defence as City saw off Gladbach in Budapest.

A Kevin De Bruyne piledriver from 25 yards gave City the lead after just 12 minutes before Gundogan showed off his knack for finding space in dangerous areas by racing onto a Phil Foden pass and finishing calmly past the opposition goalkeeper.

He almost repeated the trick after being played through by Riyad Mahrez later in the half, and provided a constant threat going forward before being taken off for a rest with just 20 minutes left to play.

What's next?

Gundogan will be back in contention for a place in Guardiola's starting XI when City take in a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

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