Pep Guardiola will likely be sweating over Ilkay Gundogan’s fitness after the midfielder appeared to be nursing a thigh issue and walked out of training on the eve of Manchester City’s Champions League final clash with Chelsea.
Gundogan has established himself as a key player in a more advanced role under Guardiola this season and has notched up three goals and one assist en route to Saturday’s all-English affair in Porto.
The 30-year-old completed every minute of City’s two-legged semi-final victory over Paris Saint-Germain and looks a shoo-in to start tomorrow night if fully fit, especially as he’s their only player with any experience of playing in a Champions League final.
And while Gundogan should have been feeling fresh after being rested for the side’s recent 5-0 win over Everton, there were worrying scenes this evening as the Germany international left training early.
Gundogan seemed to be struggling with a thigh problem and looked in some discomfort as City’s squad were put through their paces during the hour-long session at the Estadio do Dragao, where the final will be staged in just over 24 hours’ time.
According to Sky Sports, the former Borussia Dortmund star came out second best while competing for a cross with club captain Fernandinho
An apologetic Fernandinho was pictured putting his arm around Gundogan and the latter briefly spoke with members of City’s coaching staff before gingerly making his way down the tunnel.
Gundogan walked off the pitch without assistance but the sight of such an important player failing to complete the session will be a slight concern for Guardiola, a two-time winner of the competition with Barcelona.
Earlier this month, Gundogan was taken off after scoring the opener in City’s 3-2 defeat away to Brighton. However, Guardiola brushed off concerns over the German’s fitness at the time and insisted he was replaced as a precaution.
Gundogan has enjoyed comfortably his best season yet in front of goal with the newly-crowned English champions, netting 17 times in all competitions.