After 11 pretty darn successful seasons with Manchester City, Vincent Kompany wrote in an open letter on his Facebook page that the FA Cup final marked the end of his time at the club. In a follow-up post, he announced his next career endeavor would be becoming player-manager of Belgian club RSC Anderlecht, where he began his youth career and played professionally from 2003-2006.
Kompany’s decision to undertake this challenge began last year when he visited the Anderlecht’s training grounds while he was on international duty. During a tour, the club owner revealed some of the struggles they had faced recently. He also explained the ambitions for the future he had and asked for Kompany’s opinions on them. Kompany enjoyed the discourse, offered his help with “no strings attached” and later returned to work with the new sporting director during training sessions. Shortly after that, the team called and offered him a player-manager position, which Kompany accepted after being impressed with the plan the club had in mind.
“I want to share my knowledge with the next purple generations,” he wrote. “With that, I will also put a bit of Manchester in the heart of Belgium.”
The Belgian defender’s exit from the Premier League could not have come at a better time. After Manchester City the single-season record for points earned in a campaign, they successfully defended their title this season against Liverpool in one of the greatest title races in Premier League history. His team also became the first men’s side to win the English domestic treble (FA Cup, League Cup, Premier League). As if that wasn’t enough, Kompany was able to score one of the greatest goals of his career in arguably the most crucial moment of City’s season.
Kompany’s decision also coincides with a period of physical decline. Over the past few seasons, he’s been ravaged with injuries and was only able to play in 17 of City’s 38 league games—though it’s worth pointing out that he missed one fewer game this season (22) than he did in 2017-18 (23), per transfermarkt. Fortunately, given the amount of winning he did throughout his career with City (4 Premier League titles, 4 League Cups, 2 FA Cups), he won’t have to worry about those injuries defining him. Instead, his time with the club will be remembered for his leadership, poise and winning more trophies than every other club in England since joining the City.