Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany will leave the club this summer, after securing an historic domestic Treble, to become player-manager of Belgian club Anderlecht.
Kompany, 33, is City’s longest-serving player, having joined in August 2008, but his contract runs out at the end of the season — and though ESPN FC had been told that there was a willingness from both the club and the player to agree a new deal, he revealed he would be leaving after City’s FA Cup final win over Watford.
Kompany has been blighted with injury problems in recent years but started five of City’s last six Premier League matches to help them win the title, including scoring a stunning winner against Leicester in the penultimate game.
“As overwhelming as it is, the time has come for me to go,” he said in a post on Facebook. “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. I remember the first day, as clear as I see the last. I remember the boundless kindness I received from the people of Manchester.
“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.”
In a second post later on Sunday, Kompany revealed his next move: “For the next 3 years, I will take up the role of Player-Manager of RSC Anderlecht … I have decided to take up the challenge at RSC Anderlecht. Player-Manager. I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations. With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium.”
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Paying tribute to Kompany, chairman Al Mubarak said on the club website: “There have been many important contributors to Manchester City’s renaissance, but arguably none are more important than Vincent Kompany. 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 played in 360 games and scored 20 goals over 11 years at Man City. During that time he won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups and two Community Shields.
The day was marked with a little bit of bad news for Kompany as Anderlecht missed out on European qualification for the first time in 56 years on Sunday.
In the final series of playoff matches, the Brussels-based side lost 2-1 at AA Ghent, leaving them bottom of their six-team group after one win in 10 games.