Vincent Kompany has announced he is to become player-manager at his first club Anderlecht after confirming he will leave Manchester City this summer.
The 33-year-old joined City in the summer of 2008 and has made 360 appearances and won 10 trophies in an 11-year stay at the club.
He signed off with victory in the FA Cup final on Saturday, where City thrashed Watford 6-0 to complete a domestic treble.
Explaining his decision to leave, Kompany said: “As overwhelming as it is, the time has come for me to go. And what a season to bow out.
“I feel nothing but gratefulness. I am grateful to all those who supported me on a special journey, at a very special club.”
The central defender was signed by Mark Hughes from German club Hamburg, days before the Sheikh Mansour takeover.
He became a key figure in the success which followed, and leaves City having won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups.
“I remember the first day, as clear as I see the last. I remember the boundless kindness I received from the people of Manchester,” Kompany added.
“I will never forget how all Man City supporters remained loyal to me in good times and especially bad times. Against the odds you have always backed me and inspired me to never give up.
“Sheikh Mansour changed my life and that of all the City fans around the world, for that I am forever grateful. A blue nation has arisen and challenged the established order of things, I find that awesome.
“I cherish the counsel and leadership of a good human being, Khaldoon Al Mubarak. Man City could not be in better hands.”
Earlier this month, Kompany hinted the news was coming after his extraordinary winner against Leicester – a goal that was to prove his last for the club.
City chairman Khaldoon paid his own tribute to Kompany.
“There have been many important contributors to Manchester City’s renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany,” he said.
“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.
“A booming voice in the dressing room yet a quiet and measured ambassador off it, Vincent can be as proud of himself as we are of him.
“I am not sure he expected to lift the Premier League trophy on four occasions during his captaincy but he will be remembered and revered whenever this period of unprecedented City success is spoken about by future generations.
“His leadership, intelligence and determination have seen him adapt brilliantly to playing under four different managers and overcome some debilitating injuries. He is a special character who has answered every demand the club has made of him.
“We now look forward to celebrating his testimonial match in September so that we can properly celebrate his City contribution. He will always be part of the City family.”
Kompany’s City career has been affected by long injury lay-offs which have limited the number of appearances he has made.
He has worked hard to prepare himself for life after football, and in 2018 he obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Manchester Business School.
He also set up the Tackle4MCR homelessness charity alongside the city’s mayor Andy Burnham and has said that all proceeds from his testimonial will go towards the cause.
Kompany to take Anderlecht job
Kompany later announced that he would become player-manager of Anderlecht, the Brussels club with whom he began his professional career.
“I choose to be grateful for the past but remain ambitious and driven for the future. For the next three years, I will take up the role of player-manager of Anderlecht. Belgium’s finest,” he wrote in the second part of a letter to fans on Facebook.
“This may come as a surprise to you. It’s the most passionate yet rational decision I’ve ever made.”
Kompany came through the youth ranks at Anderlecht, having joined the club at the age of six.
He revealed that he had met with club chairman Marc Coucke and sporting director Michael Verschueren last summer.
“I shared my thoughts and listened to their vision for the future: ambitious, courageous and determined to get back to number one. I offered my help, no strings attached, should they need it.”
Kompany says he was then offered the player-manager job in the last few weeks.
“I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations,” he continued.
“With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium. This is no goodbye. It’s a see you later.”
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