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Germany captain showers Barcelona starlet with praise

Ilkay Gundogan-led Germany have enjoyed a strong campaign in the Euros so far. As the hosts, Julian Nagelsmann’s side have added pressure on their shoulders but have not shown many signs of crumbling under it to this point.

The Barcelona superstar, in particular, has been ever-so vital for the national team in all three games so far. He has one goal and one assist to his name and will only grow in prominence as the competition gets deeper.

Speaking to The Athletic after qualifying for the quarterfinals of the European Championships with Germany, Gundogan opened up on some aspects of his game and specifically spoke about Barcelona’s young sensation Lamine Yamal.

The veteran began by revealing how he enjoyed being entrusted with responsibility on the field and appreciated any constructive criticism that came his way.

“I like being in charge of the team and if the coach tells me: ‘Look Gündo, you did this wrong’, I appreciate it because I want to improve. If it is in front of my teammates, even better, so they can see what we all have to do.”

Gundogan then went on to speak on how it was important to be honest with oneself in order to grow and improve, especially in the world of football.

Germany’s midfielder #21 Ilkay Gundogan applauds the fans at the end of the UEFA Euro 2024 round of 16 football match between Germany and Denmark at the BVB Stadion Dortmund in Dortmund on June 29, 2024. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP) (Photo by INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images)

“I consider myself very tolerant. We are all different and I love it. I’m not saying everyone should think like me because I’m not perfect. But if you’re not honest, your progress will stagnate. It is the only way to continue improving.”

Commenting on his first season at Barcelona and his role under Xavi Hernandez last season, the treble-winning captain said,

“With Barcelona, I played everywhere they needed me, so it’s been a bit chaotic, with many changes of position. I have had to constantly adapt. Sometimes, playing well also implies knowing what position you play in, who plays around you and feeling comfortable.”

He then quickly summed up how he felt on duty with the national team once more.

“In the national team, I feel very comfortable on the pitch with my teammates and in my position.”

Finally, the Barcelona midfielder took a moment to heap praise on his club teammate Lamine Yamal, who is currently setting the field on fire for Spain.

“Lamine is only 16 years old, but it’s crazy. Just crazy. The confidence with which he plays makes it seem normal, but playing at the highest level throughout the year and reaching the Euros, being a key player is not normal at that age.”

“I want Lamine Yamal to stay healthy and reach the top of world football because that is his potential,” he added.

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