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The Controversy Surrounding Pep Guardiola’s Gesture to Ilkay Gundogan – A Tale of Cultural Sensitivity



Fans recently noticed a seemingly innocent gesture from Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, towards his former player Ilkay Gundogan. The incident occurred after Gundogan’s wife, Sara Arfaoui, gave birth to their first child. While many saw it as a thoughtful gesture, others argue that it may have been culturally insensitive.

In an interview with BILD, Gundogan revealed that Guardiola, who lived near him in Manchester City centre, visited his apartment with a bottle of champagne to congratulate him on becoming a father. This act of kindness was met with mixed reactions, particularly considering Gundogan’s Muslim background.

Gundogan, who hails from a Muslim family in Germany, adheres to Islamic traditions, which prohibit the consumption of alcohol. This prompted discussions on social media, with some expressing their concerns about the appropriateness of bringing champagne to a Muslim man’s house, especially when his wife was pregnant.

One social media user wrote, “Showed up with a bottle of champagne to a Muslim’s house,” while another exclaimed, “They were next-door neighbors, and gundo’s Muslim.” A third echoed these sentiments, stating, “Showing up with an alcoholic beverage to a Muslim man and a pregnant woman’s house.” The controversy even led one individual to speculate, “This was the moment Gundogan decided to leave City.”

Many expressed their discomfort, calling Guardiola’s gesture disrespectful and questioning why people were accepting of such behavior. Another user asked, “Who did he think was going to drink the champagne?”

Interestingly, it was revealed that Gundogan had previously given Guardiola a bottle of champagne for his birthday. The City manager had returned the favor by visiting Gundogan with the same gift and three glasses. In his reflective piece for The Players’ Tribune, Gundogan recalled the surprise of seeing Guardiola at his doorstep: “We were both really surprised because Pep is such a private guy. He ended up staying for an hour or so, just to chill. It reminded me that, even though we play football, this profession is also about humans, you know?”

The controversy surrounding Guardiola’s gesture was not the sole reason for Gundogan’s departure from Manchester City. The German midfielder, who captained the team to a treble in his final game, recently signed for Barcelona. Following the Champions League final, Gundogan informed Guardiola of his decision over the phone, unable to say goodbye in person.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding, even in seemingly small acts of kindness. As the world becomes increasingly diverse, it is crucial to respect and acknowledge different beliefs and traditions.


Oladapo Ogunleye

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