Ilkay Gündogan was kicked out at FC Schalke 04 when he was eight years old because of an injury – he refused to return. The incredible story.
The football business is incredibly fast-paced and performance-oriented – personal fate is rarely taken into account. Ilkay Gündogan once had to experience this at the tender age of just eight.
“I was eight years old when I found out how brutal this business can be,” remembers Gündogan in an article at The Player’s Tribune . “I had just achieved the dream of every child in Gelsenkirchen: I had a place in the Knappenschmiede. I was so proud to wear the coat of arms, it was just an incredible feeling.”
According to Güdogan, the procedure looked like that at the time, the kids should first prove themselves for a year before the club would then decide whether they had another future in royal blue.
Gündogan on Schalke: The big dream threatened to burst
Gündogan had to wear a special bandage, “could hardly walk and certainly not play football.” At the end of the season something happened that could hardly be prevented: “Schalke let me go. Or, to put it the way I felt: they grabbed my collar and threw me out!”
A major setback for the young Gündogan, whose great dream of a football career suddenly seemed to have shattered. Instead, he started playing again with his buddies at the local SV Hessler.
Apparently so good that his parents got a call three years later – Schalke 04 wanted Gündogan back. “Say no to them, I will not go,” says Gündogan, who still had the sting of being expelled, of his reaction.
“I think my parents kind of got along – but not really either. This was another crack in my dream, so why did I refuse to accept it? But Schalke had been my first rejection and it really hurt.”