Reported Chelsea target Kai Havertz is better than their former midfielder Michael Ballack, according to Ilkay Gundogan.

Bayer Leverkusen are said to be demanding at least €78million (£70m) for Havertz, who has scored 29 goals and supplied nine assists in the Bundesliga since the start of 2018-19.

Manchester City star Gundogan acknowledged his fellow Germany international is a different type of player to Ballack, who was a Champions League runner-up with Leverkusen and Chelsea, as well as a World Cup finalist with Germany.

Havertz has played in a more advanced role over the past two seasons and Gundogan is a bigger fan of his style than that of Ballack.

"I expect great things from him. Kai's potential is unlimited," Gundogan told Sport Bild.

"He brings a lot with him and now it is up to him to show his tremendous talent. He has that calmness and composure on the ball and is also a thoughtful guy off of it.

"In my opinion, Havertz is even better than Ballack in terms of his play.

"Ballack had a certain level of aggressiveness and mentality on the pitch; a player type of the previous generation, when you needed to be a b****** in a positive sense.

"Kai is not like that. He does not intentionally foul or lay down a marker with a yellow card."

While Havertz could be moving to the Premier League, Leroy Sane has left City for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Gundogan thinks a desire to win trophies in Germany was a key motivating factor in Sane's decision.

"The day before the move became official he confirmed it to me. It didn't shock me as I knew it was coming," he said.

"He's not won any titles in Germany yet and I think he'll do great things in the Bundesliga and help Bayern a lot."

Chelsea have already signed Timo Werner from RB Leipzig and Gundogan expects the forward to make a big impact in England.

"Believe me: Everyone at City knows about Timo Werner. Many of my team-mates asked what kind of guy he is. He deserves respect," said Gundogan.

Ilkay Gundogan believes the success of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp is down to their personalities.

The Germany midfielder was Guardiola's first signing in June 2016 when he joined City from Borussia Dortmund.

It was at Dortmund that Gundogan made his name and became a key player under Klopp, helping the club to a Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal double in the 2011-12 season.

With experience of playing under both managers the 29-year-old reckons they are both men with a great deal of character.

When asked what made the pair so special, Gundogan said: "That is a question that everybody asks me to be honest! Both are amazing managers, there is no doubt about that.

"If you are a great manager you have to have a great personality. This is something they definitely have in common.

"When it comes to the game they both focus on different things. Pep is maybe more about positions, dominating the ball while Jurgen is maybe more like winning the ball and trying to score goals as quick as possible with high intensity. 

"I just think they are great human beings and the football world should be grateful that we have these two personalities."

City's defeat to Chelsea last week saw Liverpool secure the Premier League title with seven games remaining, taking the trophy off Guardiola's side.

The two sides meet at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday with City's players poised to give Liverpool a guard of honour before kick-off.

Gundogan acknowledged Klopp has played a pivotal role in Liverpool ending their 30-year wait for the league, and is thankful he has benefited from his compatriot's coaching skills as well as Guardiola's.

"I feel privileged to have worked with Jurgen but also to be with Pep now," added Gundogan.

"It was such an amazing time with Klopp at Dortmund and such a successful time as well, I learnt so much from him. 

"It is still also such a great time here at Manchester City with Pep. I appreciate every training session, every moment that I can enjoy the game. 

"I am grateful and thankful for both, because they taught me so much. I don’t think there is any player who has had the opportunity to work with both so I feel lucky."

Playing alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo would be a dream for Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

Barcelona captain Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo have dominated world football for over a decade, respectively winning six and five Ballons d'Or.

The Argentine legend is the Catalan giants' all-time leading goalscorer with 627 in 718 appearances and has won 34 trophies with the club, though he has not got his hands on any silverware at a senior international level.

Ronaldo topped Real Madrid's goalscoring charts after nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu and, despite not winning as many titles as Messi during his illustrious career, led Portugal to success at Euro 2016 and in the inaugural Nations League.

Gundogan rates Messi higher than Ronaldo but would relish the chance to feed them both from midfield.

"Messi is a footballer who will not be born again as a talent. For me, Messi is a little higher," Gundogan told Fanatik.

"Messi and Ronaldo are also very important players. I would like to play with both of them on the same team one day."

The Premier League season will next week resume after its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, enabling David Silva to play his final games with City before departing at the end of his contract.

"It is very enjoyable to play with Silva," Gundogan said.

"I love to play with David Silva. He's a very smart football player. We get along well on and off the pitch. He is a top player."

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan believes the enforced break in the Premier League could be beneficial for Leroy Sane.

Sane damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last August and was nearing a first-team return before the Premier League season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Gundogan said he was sometimes training with Sane, 24, remotely and feels the attacker – who has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich – could be helped by the hiatus.

"We have the same fitness coach in Germany. Some days we do our exercises via FaceTime. It's worked out well so far and we're on it and trying to be very focused," he said, via the club's website.

"For everyone the situation has its good and bad sides. On one hand, Leroy had already trained with the team and he had his comeback in sight, even though he still had a few minor things.

"But he was almost back at playing again. Especially for your psyche, it's important to be able to play again after such a long time.

"On the other hand, he now has a bit more time to figure out those minor problems he still had. The fact that others can't play either is not so bad for him."

Gundogan, whose side were 25 points adrift of leaders Liverpool when play was halted, admitted it was at times tough to get motivated when training alone.

"I have a few things to do and then I'm ready to go," the Germany international said.

"To be honest, it's not so easy to motivate yourself these days every day when you are training. You know, like people who are working from home, you can maybe compare it to that.

"For those people it's also not the same as driving to work every day and then doing their jobs.

"You have to motivate yourself to do things and to do your work. Some days it's harder than others."

Robert Lewandowski has made himself the "most complete striker in the world", according to former Borussia Dortmund team-mate Ilkay Gundogan.

The pair were together at Dortmund from 2011 until 2014, before Lewandowski hopped across Germany to join Bayern Munich.

Gundogan left BVB in 2016 for Manchester City, where he plays with Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus.

But he has kept a close eye on Lewandowski's development and now sees the Poland international as being unparallelled in world football.

This season had seen 31-year-old Lewandowski score 25 goals in 23 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern, and 39 goals across all competitions, before the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe.

He was on his way back to fitness after a tibia fracture when the Bundesliga was put on hold.

"It was a huge joy to play with him. He improved again and again," Gundogan told DAZN.

"Technically he was always great, now he also has the coldness. The way he scored the goals is phenomenal.

"For me [he is] currently the best, most complete striker in the world."

Lewandowski recently revealed Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo tried to persuade him to sign for Real Madrid after a Champions League game three years ago.

Kevin De Bruyne could not comprehend how Manchester City lost to Manchester United in the second leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

City went down 1-0 at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, but the holders still progressed with a 3-2 aggregate victory to set up a final against Aston Villa.

Pep Guardiola's side - who are in the hunt for a third straight EFL Cup title - wasted a glut of glaring chances, with Raheem Sterling missing two notable opportunities while David De Gea was also in good form for United.

But with goalscorer Nemanja Matic sent off, United failed to make City pay for their profligacy, and De Bruyne knows his side must take heed from their mistakes.

"I think so," De Bruyne told Sky Sports when asked if it was a relief to hear the final whistle. 

"I can't even comprehend how we lost this game. For me, United didn't even have one chance. We were way too wasteful. We have to learn from this but at least it's good we got into the final.

"I think we got sloppy. The goal, we didn't clear the lines well and they scored. After, I don't think United had one more chance but they only needed one to score.

"In the end, we fought for what we had and we need to learn from the mistakes."

However, De Bruyne dismissed the suggestion City's defeat would tarnish their progression to a third consecutive final in the competition. 

"Of course not. If we win the final, nobody will talk about this game," he added. "It's not nice and we should have done better but it's just the way it goes sometimes.

"It's beautiful. I've been lucky in the five years I've been here to go [to Wembley] seven or eight times now.

"It means we're doing really well. It's always a nice day and now we're going to fight to win the cup."

Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan echoed De Bruyne's sentiments, but he believes City displayed the resilience they will need when they meet Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"I totally agree, we should have scored early in the first half. We started well but, after United scored, we were a bit sloppy," he said.

"We should have scored at least one or two goals today but it was not meant to be.

"It was a great test for the Real Madrid games. The manager said before the game it was an experience we had to survive and to overcome.

"I think we can improve - it's a learning process. We will analyse and try to make it better."

Lionel Messi is the star player of the current generation and the greatest footballer ever, according to Manchester City and Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

The Barcelona great is a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, like Cristiano Ronaldo, and is widely regarded as one of the best players ever.

While the debate around Messi and Ronaldo is ongoing, Gundogan has no doubt the Argentina forward is the greatest.

"Lionel Messi [is the best player in the world]," he said.

"In my opinion, he has very special abilities. He has talent and he always manages to show it on the pitch. He always has the instinct to make the right decision.

"He uses his speed well against the opponents he plays. He has a strong finish. All in all, no one else has as much quality as Lionel Messi.

"He is the star player of my generation and the greatest footballer of all-time. I hope we get to watch him play for a few more years."

Messi has continued to star for Barcelona this season, scoring nine goals in 11 games in all competitions.

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