Vincent Kompany signs off in style after Man City’s treble success
City skipper announces he will become player-manager at Anderlecht
Vincent Kompany led Manchester City to an historic FA Cup win on Saturday and then announced it was his last match for the Sky Blues.
The City captain is returning to his native Belgium to become player-manager of Anderlecht after 11 glorious years at the Etihad.
He signed off in style, leading City to their sixth FA Cup title by thrashing Watford 6-0. It was the biggest win in the final since Bury beat Derby County by the same scoreline in 1903.
But of equal interest to the stattos was the fact that in winning the cup, City are the first men’s team in English football to win the domestic treble of the league title, FA Cup and League Cup.
Nonetheless, City manager Pep Guardiola admitted that without success in Europe true greatness will elude them.
“I know we will be judged at the end on whether we win the Champions League,” said the Spaniard.
“In this club, the points record and the domestic competitions is incredible, but the Champions League, we don’t win quite often compared to the other ones because the teams are so good, the competition is so demanding. But we want to win it.”
For Kompany it means that since arriving at the club from Hamburg in the summer of 2008, he has collected four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups.
When Kompany arrived as a 22-year-old, Mark Hughes was manager and Sheikh Mansour was just about to assume financial control.
Kompany has been there throughout, and although in recent seasons his appearances have been restricted by injury, his contribution on and off the field has continued, as he showed in scoring the winner against Leicester City earlier this month.
On top of it all, in between playing football he’s earned a global business master’s degree.
But the hallmark of every great star is knowing when the time is right to bow out, and for Kompany that time is now, having led the club to an unprecedented domestic treble in men’s football.
“The time has come for me to go,” he said, in announcing his decision. “I feel nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful to all those who supported me on a special journey, at a very special club.”
Kompany lavished praise on Sheikh Mansour and Pep Guardiola, and said of his team-mates: “It’s cliche to say it but it’s also so true, without my team-mates, I would have never been here today.
“We fought many battles together. Side by side. In good times and in bad. So to all of you, from the 2008-2009 squad to today’s domestic treble winners: I owe you guys!”
But it was the City fans who received the most heart-felt thanks. “I will never forget how all Man City supporters remained loyal to me in good times and especially bad times,” he said. “Against the odds you have always backed me and inspired me to never give up.”
Back to Belgium
Looking ahead to his new challenge, Kompany explained why he had chosen to return to the club he first joined as a six-year-old having discussed the idea last year with Anderlecht chairman Marc Coucke and sporting director Michael Verschueren.
“I shared my thoughts and listened to their vision for the future: ambitious, courageous and determined to get back to number one,” he said, aware that this season Anderlecht have sacked two managers.
“I offered my help, no strings attached, should they need it… this may come as a surprise to you [but] it’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made.”
Congratulations for Kompany
City and Belgium teammate Kevin de Bruyne: “Playing for about ten years with this man for club and country. And what a privilege it’s been. Big player, big personality and big leader. Learned a lot from you. Wishing you all the best for the future.”
City midfielder Phil Foden: “Looked after me from day one. Led by example, showed everyone what it means to be a leader, wear their heart on the sleeve, and give everything for this club. We will miss you Captain.”
City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak: “He defines the essence of the club. For a decade he has been the lifeblood, the soul, and beating heart of a supremely talented squad.”
City fan and rock star Liam Gallagher: “Thank you Vincent Kompany for everything good luck see ya soon LG x.”
Gary Lineker, former England striker and now football pundit: “Good luck to you, Vincent Kompany, with your new challenge. One of the greatest players, leaders and role models to have played on the green carpets of this country.”