Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is up for this year’s German Football Ambassador Public Award.
The nominees are made up of German players who have proven themselves in sporting achievement and/or social commitment.
The award was founded in 2011 and aims to honour coaches and players from Germany who contribute to the country’s positive image on an international level.
The winners are awarded prize money that goes towards social projects around the world.
Players on the shortlist are judged by five criteria:
- Reputation in the country in which they work
- Sporting success and long-term impact on football
- Involvement in culture and social structures around football
- Perceived connection with Germany
- Increase in contacts and exchange of information between Germany and host country
Voting for the nominees closed on 5 May.
This year’s Public Award will be presented at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 19 May, alongside the main and honorary prize winners.
UK citizens traveling to Germany to see the award presentation in person should check coronavirus and document restrictions currently in place before finalising their plans.
The Man City star’s career on the pitch
Few would argue that Gundogan doesn’t merit a nomination on the list on the basis of sporting success.
Now a key member of Pep Guardiola’s squad, his senior career began in earnest at FC Nürnberg in 2009.
He transferred to Dortmund in 2011, and his career took off as he impressed with some eye-catching performances, including during the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley.
Gundogan made his Man City debut in September 2016 and scored his first goal just four days later, against Bournemouth.
A serious knee injury in December 2016 ruled him out of the game for several months, but he made an impressive resurgence during City’s 2018 Premier League title win.
Gundogan then won two Carabao Cups, in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and went onto add another Premier League and FA Cup winner’s medal to his collection.
He also played for Germany during their 2018 World Cup campaign.
City’s 2020/21 campaign was the midfielder’s fifth, and also his most successful as the German ended the campaign with a total of 17 goals from 46 appearances.
To sum up, Gundogan has enjoyed a glittering career in both Germany and England and has gained a reputation as an energetic and intelligent midfielder with plenty of deserved individual acclaim.
Gundogan’s charity work
Off the field, Gundogan has also distinguished himself in the field of social commitment.
The German midfielder has participated in several charitable causes, including a campaign to help local Manchester businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, he launched a charity auction to aid cafes and restaurants across the city.
He said: “I want to use the initiative to support people during this challenging time and at the same time offer fans the opportunity to buy something special at auction.”
The Man City favorite pledged to donate a selection of items throughout the Premier League season. The prizes included virtual meet and greets, and signed match-worn shirts and boots.
The aim was to keep several local beloved cafes and restaurants afloat in the aftermath of coronavirus-related financial difficulties.
“As you may all know the gastronomy is in a very difficult situation due to the lockdown right now,” Gundogan wrote on Twitter. “Let’s help them as much as possible.”
And just last month, Gundogan and fellow Man City player Aymeric Laporte agreed to donate 1000 meals to food banks across Manchester.
The pledge came about after the duo realized they would be facing off in Qatar this winter at the FIFA World Cup.
With Gundogan on the German team and Laporte on the Spanish, the midfielder suggested the duo set a wager on who would come up on top.
But, as is becoming the norm for the experienced player, he suggested the winnings should go to a good cause.
Gundogan’s competition for the award
Gundogan is just one of 11 names on this year’s shortlist for the German Football Ambassador Public Award.
The other nominees are:
- Sara Dabritz (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
- Mario Gotze (PSV, Netherlands)
- Koray Gunter (Hellas Verona, Italy)
- Toni Kroos (Real Madrid, Spain)
- Dzsenifer Marozsan (Lyon, France)
- Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC, USA)
- Leonie Pankratz (HJK Helsinki, Finland)
- Lukas Podolski (Gornik Zabrze, Poland)
- Kevin Volland (Monaco, France)
- Julian Weigl (Benfica, Portugal)
The German Football Ambassador Public Award 2021 was presented to Chelsea midfielder Kai Havertz.
Previous winners of the Public Award also include Robin Gosens, a left midfielder for Inter Milan, and Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen.