Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan says he plans to play in either Spain or England in the future.
Gundogan, 22, has impressed in Dortmund’s run to this season’s Champions League semi-finals, and has been linked with many of Europe’s top clubs, including Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Speaking to AS ahead of Dortmund’s upcoming semi-final clashes with Madrid, the Germany international said he was happy at the club for now but his career plan included a move to either La Liga or the Premier League down the line.
“I have a contract with Dortmund until June 2015,” Gundogan said. “The club want to extend that. We are negotiating at the moment, but things are not clear yet.
“My objective is to play in Spain or England. Without a doubt, I am happy but I have a plan for my career. I do not know what will happen in the future, but what I do know is that I want to play in one of those two countries. I like the style of football in Spain.”
The Gelsenkirchen-born player said he admired the career path that had been taken by his friend and fellow Germany international of Turkish heritage Mesut Ozil, whom he will face in the semi-finals.
“Ozil has made his own way,” Gundogan said. “It seems good to me how he has developed his career. He is a perfect representative of Turkey in the German national team and at Real Madrid. We often speak with the German squad and also on the phone. We send messages to each other and, yes, we want to play this game as soon as possible. It is a dream to be playing against him in the Champions League semi-finals.”
Dortmund had the better of their two group games with Madrid last autumn, winning 2-1 at their Westfalenstadion and drawing 2-2 at the Bernabeu. Those results had given his team confidence, Gundogan said, but did not make them favourites for their upcoming meetings.
“They are one of the best clubs in the world with, I believe, the best team in the Champions League, but we have beaten them in the group stages before,” he said. “Madrid are playing much better now than they were then. In that moment we showed we can beat anyone, which left us feeling very positive. But being serious, it is going to be a very tough tie. We need to play with everything against Madrid. We are a strong team, but they are the favourites.”
Many observers, particularly in Spain, felt Dortmund were lucky to progress past Malaga in the quarter-finals, with Felipe Santana’s 93rd-winner in the second leg appearing to be offside. Gundogan said his team had deserved to go through as they had kept pushing right until the end.
“We won the return game against Malaga with a perfect performance,” he said. “The goal that we scored in the last moment was phenomenal. Our play was really good. We tried to win the game until the final minute, and we managed to do that.”
Meanwhile, Mainz are targeting Dortmund trio Jonas Hofmann, Julian Koch and David Ginczek for the 2013-14 season, kicker reports.
Hofmann, 20, impressed during his debut as a starter for Borussia against FC Augsburg, setting up a goal in the 4-2 win and named kicker’s man of the match.
Koch, 22, can play as a right-back or in midfield. He is currently on loan at second-tier team MSV Duisburg as he is trying to revive his career following a severe knee injury that nearly forced him to hang up his boots in 2011. Mainz would be interested in either a transfer or a loan, kicker claims.
“I know both players and I think they are good,” Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel said of the duo.
The third player, 22-year-old striker Ginczek, is currently on loan at FC St Pauli, where he has scored 14 goals.
Ginczek is under contract until 2014, but Dortmund are looking to extend his contract and send him on another loan, with Mainz and Nurnberg reported to be leading the race for his services.