The German midfielder believes the success being enjoyed at the Etihad Stadium is down to collective strength rather than individual brilliance
Manchester City may not have a Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, but Ilkay Gundogan claims “it’s hard to name another team in Europe with so many great players in their squad”.
The Blues have established domestic dominance in English football, with a record-breaking Premier League title triumph enjoyed in 2017-18.
They are well-placed in the defence of that crown this season, having already landed the Carabao Cup in successive seasons.
A potential quadruple remains on the cards this term, with Gundogan hoping that collective quality at the Etihad Stadium can help to land the most sought-after prizes in Europe.
The German midfielder told The Mirror: “For me, the Champions League is the greatest thing, to win it is the greatest thing that can happen to you as a footballer.
“Maybe that’s because I’ve already lost a final when I was at Dortmund.
“Our team now is so much better than the team we had at Dortmund at that time. It felt realistic at that time to achieve it but everyone knows how difficult it is to reach the final and then win it. It’s so tough.
“But if you want to be the best, then, in my opinion, you have to win the Champions League.
“Not just the best team but the best club and that’s just what history showed us if you think about the Barcelonas, Real Madrids.
“If you win the Champions League and they talk about you then they use the word ‘best’. If you want to become the best in Europe you have to win the Champions League, that is a fact.
“We don’t have one special player who can change everything like Messi or Ronaldo, but it’s hard to name another team in Europe with so many great players in their squad. The potential is definitely there.”
Gundogan believes City are capable of sweeping the honours board in 2019, with Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup crowns still up for grabs.
“The only thing we can do is put pressure on, it’s what we want to do,” he said.
“There’s 10 games left [in the league], but there will be some kind of failure – a game where we lose points, either Liverpool or us – so we want to lose as few as possible.
“We want to win the title back-to-back which history shows is such a difficult thing.
“It’s difficult to win something, but to do it back-to-back is incredibly hard. This season feels exactly like that
“It’s not because we’re playing worse than last year but our challengers for the title are much better than they were last year – and obviously this is great for the league in general.
“But with our quality we have the responsibility to play every game in every competition like we have a realistic chance to win it. But I can’t predict for sure whether it (the quadruple) is actually possible.
“We can challenge everyone in every competition. When you have such a great squad, it doesn’t matter how many games you have in the end because you can change players in different positions but still have a team with great quality.
“I never had the feeling that our quality dropped because we always stick to one plan, we have game-changers on the pitch and it doesn’t matter if there’s two, three, four or even five different players, you still have the feeling we should win.”