Brighton sign Fati on loan from Barcelona

Brighton have completed the signing of Ansu Fati on loan from Barcelona.

The 20-year-old Spain international has signed a season-long loan at the American Express Community Stadium but there is no option to buy included in the deal.

Brighton are paying 80 per cent of his Barca contract over 10 months until the end of next June – that adds to £160,000 per week for a total of £7m.

Fati has made over 100 appearances for the LaLiga giants since making his debut as a 16-year-old in August 2019.

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said: “I’m very pleased, it’s a big player. We lost Enciso and we needed one big player.

“We are lucky because we have a lot of young players, potential top players and it will be one responsibility more.

“If you work with this talent, you have much responsibility because it’s our football heritage and we can’t make mistakes with these players because football needs this talent and you have to manage it in different ways.

“I’ve always thought like this. Especially for the big, big talent, I feel the responsibility to help this talent to become great players.

“Sometimes the coaches think only of the result, only of their career but football needs to have great players. It’s a big responsibility and I feel it.

“I think our style is very close with his characteristics, with his qualities.”

Ansu, who made 36 LaLiga appearances last season as Barcelona secured their first title for four years, joined the club’s famed academy La Masia aged 10.

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Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi says the club are ‘very pleased’ to have secured the signature of Ansu Fati after the young Spaniard agreed to join the Seagulls on a season-long loan from Barcelona.

The 20-year-old enjoyed further success by winning the Spanish Super Cup, as well as the UEFA Nations League with Spain last season. He also made two appearances at the FIFA World Cup with Spain, who he has represented at senior level nine times, scoring two goals.

Brighton technical director David Weir said: “We are delighted to bring Ansu to the club. He is one of the most highly-rated young players in the world and arrives with an impressive amount of experience both domestically and in European competition, despite his age.

“This season is the biggest in the club’s history and we’re really happy that a player of Ansu’s quality is going to be part of it. We will give him the opportunity to embed himself in the squad and to get used to working with Roberto, but naturally we’re excited to see him in a Brighton shirt.”

‘Fati signing a compliment to Brighton’s style’

Ansu Fati's stats for Barcelona in the 2022/23 LaLiga season
Ansu Fati’s stats for Barcelona in the 2022/23 LaLiga season

Paul Merson on Sky Sports News:

“It’s a compliment to Brighton and the way they play. They do it year in year out with the players they recruit.

“I like what they do. They play total soccer. He’ll fit in.

“With everybody it’s how are they going to settle in. But he’s played at Barcelona. I’m sure he’ll be singing off the same hymn sheet as the Brighton players if he did at Barcelona.”

Why Fati to Brighton makes sense

Ansu Fati

There are many aspects to the Brighton success story. It is a triumph of club building, controlling the pace of change, mature and intelligent leadership. More recently, their recruitment in markets from South America to the Far East has been celebrated.

The loan signing of Ansu Fati is a little different. This is no gem unearthed, this is a player who had been widely tipped to become a world superstar from the age of 16 when he became Barcelona’s youngest player for 80 years, their youngest-ever scorer.

His journey to Brighton is not one from obscurity but from La Masia, the most famed academy in the game. Almost from the moment that he made his stunning breakthrough in August 2019, excitement abounded. That hyperbole quickly became difficult to quell.

Read Adam Bate’s feature in full here

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Late Barcelona fightback floors Spurs

Barcelona scored three goals in the final nine minutes to clinch the Joan Gamper Trophy and condemn Tottenham to a 4-2 defeat in their final pre-season fixture.

Spurs were without Harry Kane, James Maddison, Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona but produced an encouraging performance before fatigue caught up with them.

Oliver Skipp’s first-half double cancelled out Robert Lewandowski’s early opener and moved Ange Postecoglou’s side to within touching distance of third consecutive pre-season win.

But Ferran Torres’ equaliser (81) broke the Spurs resistance before Ansu Fati (90) and Abde Ezzalzouli (90+3) fired Barca to a dramatic maiden victory at their temporary home while redevelopment works at the Camp Nou continue.

Tottenham found themselves a goal down with barely two minutes on the clock when Raphinha’s darting run and pin-point cross to the far post found Lewandowski, who rifled a left-footed volley past goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.

Spurs levelled against the run of play with their first meaningful attack, as Skipp pounced to convert after Giovani Lo Celso struck the post at the end of a flowing counter-attack.

Skipp, who has scored just one competitive goal in his entire Spurs career, completed an impressive first-half turnaround as the first period drew to a close, rising high above Frenkie de Jong to head Ivan Perisic’s cross past the hapless Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Spurs’ lead came under intense pressure after the break as Barca laid siege to the visiting goal but a disciplined defensive display, epitomised by Davinson Sanchez, looked as though it would frustrate the hosts.

That was until Sergio Reguilon was caught out of position, allowing substitute Ezzalzouli to race away and cross for Torres to scoop Barcelona back on level terms.

From there on, the hosts looked like the only team capable of winning the game. Vicario brilliantly kept out a Marcos Alonso free-kick but there was no stopping the late Barcelona onslaught as Fati and Ezzalzouli found the net to earn the hosts victory.

Harry Kane latest: Bayern preparing new £94.6m bid

Bayern Munich want to submit a new offer of €110m (£94.6m) including add-ons for Harry Kane on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The German champions are not giving up on signing the 30-year-old despite their latest offer, worth more than €100m (£86m) including add-ons, being rejected on Monday.

Bayern are aware that Kane wants his future sorted out this week, ahead of Tottenham’s opening game of the season at Brentford on Sunday. Kane’s addition remains the top priority among Bayern’s hierarchy, according to Sky Germany.

Nevertheless, an agreement between the clubs is not currently in sight and – as things stand – Kane is leaning towards staying at Tottenham.

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Sky Sports’ Paul Merson says he was shocked Manchester United didn’t sign Harry Kane and believes if they did, the team ‘would have won the Premier League’

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

Tottenham’s pre-season results

Tottenham’s first five fixtures

Spurs Fixtures 2023/24
  • August 13: Brentford vs Tottenham, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 2pm
  • August 19: Tottenham vs Manchester United, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 5.30pm
  • August 26: Bournemouth vs Tottenham – kick-off 12.30pm
  • September 2: Burnley vs Tottenham – kick-off 3pm
  • September 16: Tottenham vs Sheffield United – kick-off 3pm

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Explained: Why Dembele wants to leave Barca for PSG

Ousmane Dembele made no secret only a month ago that he was happy at Barcelona, but now he wants to leave for Paris Saint-Germain.

Dembele, who signed for Barca in 2017 from Borussia Dortmund for £135m, was keen to discuss a new contract with the club ahead of his current deal expiring in 2024.

The 26-year-old told Marca in June: “I don’t know why there’s been so much talk about PSG. It must be because I’m French.

“It’s going very well. Barcelona want me to renew until 2027, and my representative will talk to them. I am happy at the team, also at home, in Barcelona. So we’ll see what happens.”

Since, however, Sky Sports News understands there has not been a lot of progress over this extension and, in the meantime, the dynamics at both Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have shifted.

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Kaveh Solhekol explains what Kylian Mbappe’s refusal of a contract extension with PSG means for his future.

Most decisively, PSG decided to sell Kylian Mbappe after the player made it clear he would not extend his contract there and earmarked Dembele as his replacement.

PSG are understood to have made strong overtures towards Dembele while the Mbappe saga was rumbling on, with manager Luis Enrique seeing Dembele as the ideal successor.

At the same time, Barcelona are understood to have been one of the clubs that made a move for Mbappe, attempting to give PSG the solution they were looking for to get him off their books.

And from this, rumours are believed to have reached Dembele that have unsettled him – rumours that he was one of two names proposed to PSG as part of a potential deal.

Ousmane Dembele, Barcelona
Dembele played a key role in Barcelona’s LaLiga triumph last season

Dembele has now told Barcelona that he wants to join PSG and, although his relationship with manager Xavi remains strong, he does not feel like the club has made a strong enough attempt to keep him.

Xavi publicly expressed his disappointment at Dembele’s decision this week, especially after he played a big part in the winger’s resurgence following a falling out with the club last January.

Dembele shone last season, being dubbed the ‘Assist King’ by Spanish media, as he scored eight goals and set up nine more in all competitions.

PSG have triggered a clause in Dembele’s contract which has given them five days to negotiate his transfer with Barcelona.

What to watch on Sky Sports this week

Enjoy live action from the EFL, The Hundred and more with NOW

Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton – August 4 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Celtic vs Ross County – August 5 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Kilmarnock vs Rangers – August 5 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Leicester vs Coventry – August 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Leeds vs Cardiff – August 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Sunderland vs Ipswich – August 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
The Hundred – August 1 to 27 – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
Netball World Cup – July 28 to August 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Action
Wyndham Championship – August 3 to 6 – LIVE on Sky Sports Golf

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Havertz nets again as Arsenal put five past Barca | Arteta defends ‘intensity’

Arsenal put on a show in the impressive surroundings of LA’s SoFi Stadium as Kai Havertz found the net again in their 5-3 pre-season win over Barcelona.

Barca twice led before half-time on the US West Coast, with Robert Lewandowski stabbing home on the rebound inside 10 minutes for the opener.

That was cancelled out by Bukayo Saka soon after, following a heavy Andreas Christensen touch, before the England winger wasted the chance to put Arsenal in front when he missed altogether from a penalty.

Barca made him pay as Raphinha’s deflected free-kick caught out Aaron Ramsdale at his far post, but shortly before the break Havertz levelled with an instinctive finish from Martin Odegaard’s knock-down.

The flurry of goals continued after half-time, although was rather more one-sided, as Leandro Trossard got himself on the scoresheet with a swept finish into the bottom corner to hand the Gunners the lead for the first time.

Barca were then inches away from keeping the rollercoaster scoring ride going but Ousmane Dembele was denied by the foot of Ramsdale’s near post.

Leandro Trossard struck a second-half double in Los Angeles
Leandro Trossard struck a second-half double in Los Angeles

Instead, a superb first-time finish from Trossard from Kieran Tierney’s deep cross doubled the Gunners’ advantage, and had too much power for sub goalkeeper Inaki Pena.

The woodwork was Arsenal’s saviour again late on to deny young Barca left-back Alejandro Balde. But the LaLiga champions did finally find a second-half breakthrough through a familiar face, when ex-Man City winger Ferran Torres fired in across Ramsdale.

Determined to have the last laugh, the Gunners rounded off the scoring with the pick of the goals from Fabio Vieira, whose 25-yard stunner was a fitting finish to an entertaining encounter in Los Angeles.

Declan Rice, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Folarin Balogun, the latter wanted by Inter Milan this summer, all missed the match with minor injuries, Mikel Arteta confirmed after full-time.

Arsenal line-up

Arsenal: Ramsdale, White, Timber (Tierney 70), Saliba (Kiwior 70), Gabriel (Holding 84), Partey (Jorginho 62), Havertz, Saka (Cozier-Duberry 84), Odegaard (Vieira 62), Trossard (Martinelli 79), Jesus (Nketiah 79).

Not used: Hein, Trusty, Tomiyasu, Marquinhos.

Arteta defends players after Xavi surprised by Arsenal ‘intensity’

Arteta stepped in to defend his players after opposite number Xavi Hernandez had questioned the “unusual” level of intensity Arsenal had put into the game – racking up three yellow cards in the process, a rarity in pre-season.

“It got really competitive for a friendly match,” he said. “It got that way after the first tackle, the first goal. Playing in front of 70,000 people helps create an atmosphere. They are elite players and they all want to win.

“But at the end, I think it got a bit too much for a friendly, but I think the show that we put in for all the people that came to watch was really good. At the end of the day, football belongs to the players.

“We’re playing in front of 70,000 people, and when it comes down to it, as soon as the game starts, they’ll rebel against the coaches and do what they want as soon as there’s the first foul, as soon as there’s the first goal, they’ll start getting intense and they’ll start playing.”

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka missed the target altogether from the spot against Barcelona - as he did against West Ham last season
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka missed the target altogether from the spot against Barcelona – as he did against West Ham last season

Xavi’s side were playing their first match of pre-season after a bout of illness saw their previous game with Juventus called off.

The Barca boss clashed with his former Camp Nou midfield colleague Arteta during the match, and explained what had happened on the touchline after the game.

Xavi said: “I said to Arteta that it was like a Champions League game. It was a little unusual, the intensity they put into the game.

“We took it seriously but they played at a different tempo and deserved the win. We were a little soft in defence.”

Arsenal’s pre-season fixtures and results

How to watch free Premier League highlights

Throughout the 2023/24 season, you can watch Premier League match highlights for free – without being a Sky Sports subscriber.

You’ll find highlights from every Premier League game in the Score Centre, as well as on the Sky Sports website and Sky Sports app shortly after full-time, or from 5.15pm for midday Saturday kick-offs. You can also watch them on the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.

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Busquets joins Messi at Inter Miami

Inter Miami have announced the signing of former Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets on a two-year deal.

World Cup winner Busquets will occupy a Designated Player slot and is expected to join the team in the coming days.

The move will see the nine-time La Liga title winner reunited with former Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi, who made the switch to the Major League Soccer side following his departure from Paris Saint-Germain.

“This is a special and exciting opportunity that I’m very excited to take. I’m looking forward to this next step in my career with Inter Miami,” said Busquets, who announced his departure from Barcelona in May.

Barcelona's Sergio Busquets waves to fans after his last home game of the season for the club at the end of a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Barcelona and Mallorca at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, May 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
Busquets waves to Barcelona fans after his last home game for the club

“I was impressed by the club when I came with Barcelona last year and now I’m happy and ready to represent the club myself. I can’t wait to help bring the success that this ambitious club strives for.”

Inter Miami managing owner Jorge Mas said: “I am excited to welcome Sergio Busquets to Inter Miami. Since day one we have set out to bring the world’s best players to Inter Miami. Sergio’s repertoire speaks for itself.”

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Inter Miami announced the signing of Lionel Messi in dramatic fashion

Sporting director Chris Henderson added: “We’re very happy to bring somebody of Sergio’s pedigree to Inter Miami. He is one of the smartest players to ever play the sport; he reads the game at an unprecedented level and impacts every facet of play.

“Sergio is a winner, a leader and a world-class talent, and we’re excited to see him represent our franchise.”

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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Messi signs for Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami

Lionel Messi has completed his move to David Beckham’s MLS franchise Inter Miami on a free transfer.

The MLS club officially announced the signing on Saturday evening ahead of a presentation to be held on Sunday.

Former Barcelona forward Messi was available after allowing his contract to run down with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona were interested in bringing Messi back to the Nou Camp, but an offer did not materialise due to LaLiga’s financial fair play rules.

There was also interest from Saudi Arabia, where Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante now play, but Messi chose to join Inter Miami, who only became an MLS team in 2020 having been founded two years earlier.

“I’m very excited to start this next step in my career with Inter Miami and in the United States,” said Messi.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and together we will continue to build this beautiful project. The idea is to work together to achieve the objectives we set, and I’m very eager to start helping here in my new home.”

Messi will first be available for selection for Inter Miami CF on July 21 when they take on LIGA MX side Cruz Azul in the opening match of the Leagues Cup – a new tournament in which MLS and LIGA MX will pause their respective league seasons from July 21 to August 19 to determine the three clubs that will qualify for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.

Inter Miami co-owner Beckham said the move was “a dream come true”.

“Ten years ago, when I started my journey to build a new team in Miami, I said that I dreamt of bringing the greatest players in the world to this amazing city,” he said. “Players who shared the ambition I had when I joined LA Galaxy to help grow football in the USA and to build a legacy for the next generation in this sport that we love so much.

The next phase of our adventure starts here, and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.

David Beckham, Inter Miami co-owner

“Today that dream came true. I couldn’t be prouder that a player of Leo’s calibre is joining our club, but I am also delighted to welcome a good friend, an amazing person and his beautiful family to join our Inter Miami community.

“The next phase of our adventure starts here, and I can’t wait to see Leo take to the pitch.”

The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is signing for a team that are bottom of the Eastern Conference.

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Former Manchester United forward and current DC United coach Wayne Rooney says Lionel Messi’s move to Inter Miami is exciting for the whole league and believes Messi is ‘arguably the greatest footballer ever’

Cindy Parlow Cone, president of US Soccer Federation told Sky Sports: “The great thing about Messi coming over is it’s going to attract domestic and international attention onto the league and to the players and to the teams.

“It’s a massive move that MLS and Miami have been able to put together. And I think the Messi impact, I don’t think anyone has actually fully wrapped their brain around what that is going to mean for our country and for MLS.”

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Fabregas announces retirement at 36

Former Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36.

Fabregas earned 110 caps for Spain in an international career which saw him win back-to-back European Championships and the World Cup in between those successes.

Fabregas started his Premier League career with Arsenal, where he spent eights seasons
Fabregas started his Premier League career with Arsenal, where he spent eight seasons

The Spaniard began his career at Barcelona’s La Masia, but made his professional debut for Arsenal at 16 and spent eight seasons in north London before returning to Catalonia.

Having won the FA Cup with the Gunners, Fabregas enjoyed even greater success in Spain as he lifted LaLiga, the Copa del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup over a three-year stay.

Fabregas then returned to the Premier League with Chelsea and won the title twice, first under Jose Mourinho and then under Antonio Conte. He also won the FA Cup and League Cup for the Blues.

FC Barcelona's XXX, from XX, duels for the ball against Almeria's XXX,  during a Spanish La Liga soccer match in Almeria, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Daniel Tejedor)
Fabregas returned to boyhood club Barcelona after leaving Arsenal

The midfielder, who spent his final season as a professional footballer with second-tier Italian side Como, wrote on social media: “With great sadness the time has come to hang up my boots.

“I will cherish every moment, from the early days at Barcelona, ??Arsenal, back at the Blaugrana, Chelsea, Monaco and finally Como. From the World Cup, to the European Championships, victories in England, Spain, winning European trophies: it was a trip I will never forget.

“I’ve had experiences I never thought I’d even come close to in a million years.”

Fabregas celebrates with the World Cup trophy in 2010 after the tournament in South Africa
Fabregas celebrates with the World Cup trophy in 2010 after the tournament in South Africa

Fabregas will now take up a coaching role with Como.

He added: “I’m not sad, because I’m about to start a new path: coaching the B and Primavera team of Como 1907. A club and a project I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about. This team won my heart from the first minute, we met at the perfect moment in my career. I will give my all in this new adventure.

“So, after 20 incredible years full of sacrifices, joy and passion, the time has come to say thank you again and say hello to the most beautiful sport in the world.

“I loved every minute. Cesc.”

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Gundogan leaves Man City for Barcelona on free transfer

Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan has left the club to join Barcelona following the expiration of his contract.

Gundogan leaves Manchester on the back of the club’s greatest season, lifting the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies within the space of a month.

He spent seven years at the Etihad Stadium since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2016, and manager Pep Guardiola had publicly hinted at his own desire to extend that stay further.

Gundogan was in talks with City over a new deal ahead of his contract expiry at the end of this week.

However, the length of the deal on offer for the 32-year-old – one year plus an option of a further 12 months – was a sticking point, and he has instead penned a two-year contract, also including a 12-month option, with LaLiga champions Barcelona. His release clause has been set at €400m (£342m).

Gundogan told the Manchester City club website: “For me, it has been a total privilege and pleasure to be part of Manchester City for the last seven years.

“Manchester has been my home and I have felt part of a very special family at City.

“I have been lucky to have experienced so many unforgettable moments in my time here and to have been captain for this extra special season has been the greatest experience of my career.

“First, I would like to thank Pep. To have been able to play under and learn from him for so long has been something I will never forget.

“I would also like to thank all my team-mates – past and present – who have all played such a special part in making my time here so amazing.

“Finally, I would like to thank the incredible City fans. They have supported me from the moment I arrived, and I owe them all so much for their support.

“This club made me realise all my dreams and I will forever be thankful for this opportunity.

“I will carry City always in my heart. Once a blue, always a blue.”

Gundogan: Leaving City the hardest goodbye, Barca were my only thought

Writing on the Player’s Tribune website, Gundogan said announcing to his team-mates he was leaving City was his hardest goodbye in football, and explained why he had chosen Barcelona as his next, and perhaps final, move in his career.

He wrote: “Goodbyes are never easy, but it’s even harder with this team. When I had to break the news to the boys that I was leaving in our group chat, I was very emotional. I will miss all of them, honestly.

“But I am happy to say that I’m leaving here as a champion, and I have nothing but love for the club in my heart. This season, something clicked. I just knew we were going to do it.

“I don’t even mean just the Champions League. The Premier League, the FA Cup – everything. Week after week, I just felt everything lining up perfectly. Even when we were 10 points behind Arsenal, I knew we would win the league.”

Addressing his decision to join Barca, he added: “If I was going to move, there is only one club in the world that made sense. It was Barcelona or nothing.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of wearing that shirt some day. I am confident that I have a few more years left at the highest level, and I just want to help bring Barcelona back to where they deserve to be.”

‘Gundogan leaves Man City on a very special high’

Ilkay Gundogan and Erling Haaland celebrate after Man City retake the lead
Gundogan captained Manchester City to the treble

City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain paid tribute to “inspirational” Gundogan after the midfielder’s long-expected free transfer to Barcelona was confirmed.

Gundogan, who was Guardiola’s first signing in July 2016, signed off in style by lifting the Champions League trophy earlier this month after victory over Inter Milan in his 304th and final appearance.

“Ilkay has been a wonderful servant for Manchester City, and he leaves our club on a very special high having captained us to a historic treble,” said Begiristain.

“He has played a huge part in the successes we have enjoyed in recent seasons and Ilkay’s intelligence, leadership and commitment to the club – both on and off the field – has been an inspiration to everyone.

“Ilkay has truly cemented his place in the history of Manchester City and we all wish him well in the next chapter of his career.”

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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