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Ilkay Gundogan: Winning the Champions League would send City into a new era

Ilkay Gundogan believes winning the Champions League would propel Manchester City into a new era and help establish them as one of the world’s elite clubs.

City have been the most dominant team in English football in recent years, but have yet to progress beyond the semi-finals of the Champions League, Europe’s most prized competition.

And Gundogan believes City would arrive on the same level as the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona were they to lift the famous trophy.

“We’ve experienced a lot in the Champions League in recent years – not all of it positive, of course. We should’ve won it at least once,” Gundogan told UEFA.com.

“Every club, every team, every single player would like to lift this trophy some time. The competition to win it is so big year in, year out, so your chances are not that good, but there’s a team that wins it every year.

“If you want to be in the international elite, as a club and as a player, you need to clinch this trophy. If we were to win it someday, the club would enter a new era – the same level as Real [Madrid], Barça, Bayern or Juventus.

“Our job is to try to give it our all to make that a reality.”

The 28-year-old, who has been in excellent form of late, admits City are favourites against Schalke, their Round of 16 opponents, but says Pep Guardiola and his men will not be taking the Germans lightly.

Ilkay said: “We are clear favourites in this tie and rightly so. However, every team in the last 16 has earned the right to be there.

“Because of that, we’ll respect our opponents and prepare for it as if it’s a final because it’s the knockout phase and every mistake can be severely punished.”

City head to Gelsenkirchen, a region Gundogan is very familiar with, on Wednesday for the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Could this be the year City reach the final and, dare we say it, win the elusive UEFA Champions League?

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