Germany international Ilkay Gündogan has been plying his trade for Manchester City since 2016. Now, the Gelsenkirchen born superstar wants to give something back to his new local community. In order to support cafes and restaurants across Manchester that have been hit hard by the lockdown, the 30-year-old midfielder is putting his worn jerseys and boots up for auction after every league game until the end of the season. In addition, he will be hosting a virtual meeting for two fans as well as a personal meet and greet session as soon as the infection rates allow it.
The current situation in Great Britain is particularly critical. The UK was the first European country to record more than 100,000 deaths. Gündogan himself caught the coronavirus last year and showed severe symptoms, as did some of his teammates. Since then, he’s been advocating to sensitise the public to the illness.
In a video produced by the Federal Ministry of Health, Gündogan speaks openly about his experience: "When I was diagnosed by the doctor I was extremely unsettled. I didn’t know what to expect. At the start I had fever, limb pains – really bad limb pains – a sore throat, headaches, after a week I lost my sense of taste as well. It was a real struggle physically. I had the feeling my immune system was completely shutting down."
Alongside his efforts to educate people, he is now supporting his local community in England. "Machester has become my second home in recent years," said Gündogan, "I feel like I belong here and I’ve spent a lot of times in the many wonderful cafes and restaurants around the city, so the news about the thousands of restaurants closing down hit me hard. With my initiative, I would like to offer my support to the people in challenging times, giving fans the opportunity to buy something special at the same time."
The auctions will be held on the charitystars.com portal. Gündogan is the next name in a growing list of Germany internationals who are supporting their communities in times of the pandemic. Other examples include the "WeKickCorona" initiative set up by Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, and "Help your Hometown" by Marco Reus.