3:39 Shaun Goater says Manchester City should make Kompany an ambassador
“I don’t care about my CV,” he has said but it is a mighty one. Four Premier League titles under three different managers, the club’s player of the year in the first of them. Four League Cups. Two FA Cups eight years apart.
It is a list that puts him among the first rank of City’s heroes. Club legend Tony Book had the honour of bringing out the FA Cup on Saturday, and was heralded with a banner, but Kompany is now the face of City’s greatest era.
Of course, that reflects the accident of timing and what he’s been part of, but this £6.7m signing would have established himself as a hero in any era. As a leader, no doubt, but first and foremost as a world-class footballer.
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At his best, Kompany had it all. A front-foot defender with presence and more than enough pace to cope in the quickest of leagues, he was the sort of player who bulled strikers who were not used to being bullied.
Having played in midfield earlier in his career, his technique did not let him down and he was never a passive defender, always willing to take risks if it meant nipping in front of the forward to assert his dominance.
That approach, that desire to play a high line, led many to believe that he would suffer as the years went by. Undoubtedly, he was left more vulnerable as the injuries took their toll – and there were plenty of them.
More than once he must have thought it was over as he trudged off clutching that calf, the walk accompanied by whispers from the stands. He took it all with grace, never a malign influence, always a positive one.
The hard work was worth it. The willingness to battle on paid off. Kompany got to finish on the high of all highs and he was no passenger either – starting five games in a row for the first time in two years during the run in.
He did more than start them too, he starred in them. That goal against Leicester, the come-from-behind win over Brighton to seal the title and the biggest FA Cup final victory in more than 100 years. What a way to bow out.
Everything feels inevitable afterwards and perhaps City would have found a winner anyway in that final home game of the season. But there were only 20 minutes to go. The clock was ticking when Kompany intervened.
Big players do it in the big moments and his was the sweetest of strikes.
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And how about that final game in a City shirt? The battle with Troy Deeney was one he relished and won. Guardiola is well aware of the significance of that. For all of City’s class, he needed Kompany’s physicality too.
For that reason, he will be missed on the field but for many reasons he will be missed off it. Kompany’s attitude set him apart as a dressing room leader and the significance of that should not be underestimated.
3:15 James Ducker says Kompany's departure leaves City with a huge void to fill
“Every now and then when things are getting too comfortable, I go a little aggressive in training or I speak up and say what I think,” he explained recently. That innate sense of what the team needs is an invaluable quality.
“I am going to do everything I can to put a bit of blood in that water so this team gets even hungrier,” he added. But now City must do so without him.
They are well aware of their loss and were anxious to keep him involved in some capacity. They would have welcomed Kompany becoming an ambassador or even being parked out at one of the group’s sister clubs.
Instead, he has opted not for a pay day, but for a romantic return to Anderlecht where it all began. One senses it is farewell not goodbye, but if this is the end he departs as a true legend of City – and the Premier League.