German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan spent a decade at Hessler 06 at the very start of his football career. After Hessler, Gundogan joined Bochum’s academy as a teenager to pursue professional football. He then later signed for Nurnberg.
In 2011, Gundogan signed for Borussia Dortmund, where he caught the eye of the football world. Interestingly, he was Pep Guardiola’s first signing at City in 2016. But unfortunately, he had a serious knee injury in his first season with Manchester City.
He overcame that injury and has been an instrumental part of City since then. This year he has finished as the top scorer of Manchester City in the Premier League. He scored 13 goals and won his third league title with Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City also managed to progress into the Champions League final. Gundogan received a bonus of 300,000 euros (£258,000) for that run to the final. The German has decided to donate the money to Hessler 06 for building a new artificial pitch. Local authorities in Gelsenkirchen will contribute the remaining 350,000 euros (£301,000) towards the project.
Hessler 06 club chairman Rainer Konietzka said: “Without Ilkay, we would not have been able to start this project,”
Gundogan’s manager and uncle Ilhan said: “We are still very closely connected to the club, because we spent large parts of our childhood here,”
“When Ilkay heard that many children were withdrawing because there was no artificial pitch, it hit him hard.”
After helping his childhood club, Gundogan is now preparing for Euro 2020 with the German squad and would hope to have a shot at the European Championship trophy.