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Who is Josko Gvardiol, Manchester City’s latest signing?

Gvardiol played in his first World Cup in 2022 and was one of Croatia’s outstanding players at the tournament in Qatar.

Leipzig's Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol (R) celebrates scoring the 1-1 goal with his team-mates during the UEFA Champions League round of 16, first-leg football match between RB Leipzig and Manchester City in Leipzig, eastern Germany on February 22, 2023. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Manchester City have completed the signing of Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig.

At the age of 21, Gvardiol is already considered to be one of the top defenders in world football. The left-footed centre-back made his name after leaving Dinamo Zagreb to move to Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, where he competed regularly domestically and in the Champions League, a competition in which he scored a goal against his new club City in February.

In December 2022, he played in his first World Cup and was one of Croatia’s outstanding players at the tournament in Qatar. He once again demonstrated his aerial ability, scoring the goal against Morocco that helped his country punch above their weight once again and finish in third place.

“Gvardiol is the best centre-back in the world,” Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said before the World Cup. “His maturity, the way he plays... He meets the requirements of a defender [Pep] Guardiola might be interested in. He is big, effective in the air and comfortable with the ball at his feet.”

Time in Croatia

During two seasons in Croatia, Gvardiol lifted two Croatian League titles, one Croatian Cup and a Croatian Super Cup before moving to the Bundesliga to challenge himself in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

RB Leipzig experience

Gvardiol played 87 times for RB Leipzig in two seasons (2021-22 and 2022-23), scoring five goals and winning two DFB-Pokal trophies.

Chelsea interest

Chelsea and RB Leipzig failed to reach an agreement for the player last summer, when the West London club tried to bring him to the Premier League.

Second Croatian signing at the Etihad

Gvardiol becomes City’s second signing of the summer transfer window ahead of the 2023-24 season, and the second Croatian signing, after midfielder Mateo Kovacic moved from rivals Chelsea.

Manchester City's midfielder Mateo Kovacic speaks during a press conference in Seoul on July 29, 2023.
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Manchester City's midfielder Mateo Kovacic speaks during a press conference in Seoul on July 29, 2023.JUNG YEON-JEAFP

Gvardiol on joining City

“I have always dreamed of one day playing in England and to be doing so now with Manchester City – after the season they have just had – is a real honour for me,” he told Manchester City’s official website.

“Anyone who saw Manchester City play last season knows they are the best team in the world. To win the Treble says everything you need to know about the quality this team has.

“To be joining City is something very special for me and my family.

“To have the chance to work with Pep Guardiola, too, will be amazing. I know I am not yet the finished article and I am sure my game will progress under the best coach in football.

“To be linking up with Mateo Kovacic will also be special. He’s a top footballer and I hope we can both help City achieve another successful season in 2023/24 and then beyond.”

Transfer fee for Gvardiol

The fee City will pay for Gvardiol is believed to be worth €90 million ($98.6m). He has signed a five-year deal with the Premier League champions.


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