Treble-winning captain Ilkay Gundogan will be glued to the screen on Saturday afternoon cheering on his former team-mates and the Club he still loves.

The popular German will be forever remembered for leading City to Champions League, Premier League, and FA Cup glory last season before moving to Barcelona in the summer of 2023.

And given his seismic contribution in last year’s FA Cup final against Manchester United, it is a day he admits he will never forget.

“I have very fond memories of that day,” said Gundogan.

“After all, I scored the fastest final goal in FA Cup history to date as well as a second after half-time. 

“The atmosphere at Wembley was outstanding. I still get goosebumps when I think on that day.”

With just 13 seconds on the clock, the Germany international spectacularly volleyed City ahead to send one half of Wembley wild.

Reliving the moment, he recalled: “I was under pressure from the front and the back, and the ball dripped perfectly onto my right foot. 

“I had no other option, so to speak! You don’t score a goal like that every day, that’s for sure.

“The reaction of still gives me pure goosebumps. It couldn’t have been a better to start a game like that. 

“I ran to the corner flag and was cheered on by my teammates. The City fans on the other side of Wembley were making a lot of noise. You couldn’t miss it.”

Though the Reds levelled from the penalty spot, Gundo’s second volley of the afternoon shortly after the re-start proved to be the winning goal and keep the Blues on track for only the second Treble ever recorded in English men’s football. 

“At that moment, I just tried to hit the ball as best I could,” he said.

“My connection with my weaker left foot wasn’t even perfect, but the ball bounced so quickly through the penalty area and De Gea’s view was blocked. 

“ Kevin’s corner was of course also perfectly taken. 

“Again, it was special because of the importance of the game and the goal came at a crucial moment for us. 

“It probably wasn’t the best strike I have ever had with my left foot, but definitely one of the most important.”

“Every final and every title won with City was special. Given my brace and the win against our Manchester rivals, I would definitely give this game in my top three career moments.”

After the final whistle, and as the players held the trophy aloft to the 30,000 travelling Blues, some of his teammates orchestrated the City fans into singing a ‘Gundo’s on fire’ chant that was one of the highlights of the post-match celebrations.

What does he recall of that moment?

“I think it was Erling, Ruben or perhaps Rodri,” he smiled.

“I can’t remember exactly. In any case, it was a great moment to celebrate with the boys and the FA Cup trophy in front of the fans.”

And on his most cherished memories as a City player, he said: “Where do I start? I had an incredible seven years in Manchester and so many memories. 

“Obviously achieving the Treble and finally winning the Champions League as Club captain last season is top. 

“Everyone knows it was a dream of mine to win the Champions League and to be able to finally do that in Istanbul was amazing. 

“It’s also hard not to mention the final day against Aston Villa in 2021/22. 

“Scoring two goals to help us comeback to win the Premier League title was another brilliant day for the Club and in my career.”

Returning to Saturday’s all-Manchester FA Cup final, this weekend’s La Liga fixture list means Ilkay will be able to watch the game and, it goes without saying where his loyalties lie…

“Will I be watching? Absolutely. Barcelona play Sevilla the following evening,” he said. 

“The fact that City can win the Double for the second time in a row is an incredible story. 

“My guess is that City will take the momentum of the league title and beat United 2-0.

“The 2023 FA Cup final will always be high on the list of favourite moments, that’s for certain. 

“We created history by beating our biggest rivals in that iconic stadium to win one of the most prestigious trophies in world football. 

“We obviously knew how important this game was for the fans, too, and that was definitely something we talked about before the game. 

“As I say, to celebrate with our fans after the match is something that will stay with me forever. 

“It was a very special day for all of us, but also exciting because we knew we had one final to go to create history.”

And will is he planning to return to the Etihad to say a proper farewell at any stage?

“This is my plan,” he said. “I hope so. If not on the pitch next season, I will hopefully certainly find another opportunity. 

“The Club, this team and the City fans will always be worth a visit!

“So yes, I will of course be supporting the boys and I want to keep the FA Cup on the blue side of Manchester. 

“Hopefully the guys can put in a top performance and it’s another day to remember for this great football club.”