Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has explained that he rejected a move to Liverpool and a reunion with former manager Jurgen Klopp in order to step out of his comfort zone.
Gundogan worked with Klopp during their time together at Borussia Dortmund, but signed with City in 2016, choosing to work with Pep Guardiola as a way to challenge himself.
Reports suggested that his former manager wanted to bring him to Merseyside in 2016, a year after Klopp himself made the move to Liverpool.
Speaking to FantasyPL, as quoted by the Mirror, Gundogan explained his desire to improve himself.
“I believe in challenges in life and I always try to challenge myself first of all,” he said. “I feel like if I don’t challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone, I’m not going to change anything and won’t improve.”
Gundogan also expressed his admiration for Klopp, adding: “So I had a great four years with Jurgen and I love him as a person and a manager but I felt it was time for something else.
“I wanted to leave Dortmund in Dortmund and didn’t want to think about the time I had with him when I was joining a new club. That was a bit of the reason why I didn’t want to join Liverpool.”
Since joining Manchester City in 2016, he has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups. He has also been a key player for City this season despite his missed penalty against Tottenham Hotspur before the winter break, making 35 appearances in all competitions and scoring five goals.
He will hope to add European success to the list, as City resume the chase for their first-ever Champions League this month. They travel to the Santiago Bernabéu to face Real Madrid in the first leg of their last 16 encounter.