Ilkay Gundogan brutally honest about Barcelona's elimination from the Champions League

The German midfielder did not mince any words about Barcelona's loss to PSG
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain: Quarter-final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain: Quarter-final Second Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

Ilkay Gundogan has been one of Barcelona's most consistent players of the season. The German midfielder has played, and started, most of the Catalan side's matches this season.

He hasn't been shy about sharing his thoughts on the team when asked, especially after painful defeats. Such was the case following their Champions League quarterfinal exit at the hands of PSG.

"I am very disappointed because we were in such a good position, not just after the first leg, but scoring the first goal," Gundogan said after the match. "Everything was in our hands and we just gave it away in the most simple manner. We just gave it to PSG and that is the most disappointing part."

Despite PSG dominating the opening minutes of the game, it was Barcelona who were in front following a play from Lamine Yamal and a deft finish from Raphinha. With that tally, Barcelona were two goals up in the tie.

Then came the disappointing part Gundogan was alluding to as Ronald Araujo was sent off midway through the first half after fouling Barcola who appeared to be through on goal. The referee judged the foul as obstructing a clear goal scoring opportunity and sent the Uruguayan off, much to the protests of his teammates and manager Xavi Hernandez.

"If he fouled him, I guess it's a red card," Gundogan said about Araujo's foul." I haven't seen the replay. It's difficult to say, in these crucial moments, you need to be sure to get the ball.

"If you don't get it and I don't know if he did, you have to stay away. I prefer to concede a goal there or to leave the striker one-on-one, even though he played the ball quite far ahead, so I don't know if he would reach the ball. But let the goalkeeper have a chance to save us or even concede a goal.

"To get a red card, to go a a player down so early, it just kills the game."

This is where the inexperience from a number of Barcelona's starters contrasts with the experience of a player like Gundogan. He's been in a number of high-profile matches, coming out on the winning side more often than not. Recently, it's not something Barcelona players are accustomed to.

In Araujo's mind, he wanted to do whatever he could to stop Barcola from scoring. Unfortunately for him, and Barcelona, it resulted in being sent off.

Like Gundogan said, conceding was a better option than being down a player so early. Especially since even if Barcola had scored, Barcelona would have still been a goal up. Having done damage to PSG with their only play, it's not out of the question Barcelona could have scored at least one more.

The sending off hurt in more ways than one as to bring on a defensive replacement, Lamine Yamal had to be taken off. Now Barcelona were without arguably their best attacking player.

Gundogan didn't stop there as he was also criticial of Vitinha's goal where he was left with acres of space to get a shot off that resulted in PSG taking the lead. It's not the first time Barcelona have conceded a goal like that and have yet to learn their lesson. Again, this could also be attributed to being down a man but in a game where the margins are so slim, there needed to be more intensity and concentration during that sequence.

How Gundogan's comments will be taken in the locker remain to be seen.

This isn't the first time he's hit out at his team. He did so following the loss to Real Madrid earlier in the season.

Some may be of the opinion that those words need to be kept in-house while others may find his candidness refreshing. Gundogan certainly has played enough at the highest level to earn some leeway.


In any case, we'll see how Barcelona respond to his comments as they have to put the Champions League elimination in the back burner as their next match in LaLiga is against Real Madrid on Sunday.