Welcome to the January edition of the official digital Manchester City Magazine.

As we publish mid-month, there’s a bit of Christmas and a bit of New Year mixed in (to keep you on your toes) as we head into 2022.

For our January edition, we have England’s new all-time record goal-scorer Ellen White as our cover star – well, we had to have a White Christmas one way or another!

Also included, Ilkay Gundogan talks about his love of Manchester and reveals some of the community projects he’s started up or involved in.

Elsewhere, following the sad news that he has been forced to retire, we have a wonderful tribute to City legend Sergio Aguero from Argentinian journalist and author Daniel Fresco for our 'Last Word' and in Kun’s honour, an all-time Manchester City South American Best XI.

Kev Cummins gets in the Christmas spirit with a selection of snowy classics and – let’s be honest – any excuse to get Joy Division in gets the thumbs up from us!

We’ve also a January transfer window special in The List and we have features on St Helens star Paul Wellens and also on Danny Walker, who is part of our EDS backroom staff.

You can check how Andy Morrison got on with his predictions for last month (his best yet) as well as look at what he expects from the next batch of games and on the topic of strapping defenders, we catch up with Dutch centre-half Michel Vonk.

Lauren Hemp, Marc Riley, Tai Sodje and Nedum Onuoha are also featured - plus our latest FPL round-up - in what is yet another jam-packed issue.

We hope you enjoy it, and wish you all a very happy, healthy Christmas and New Year.

The woman of the moment… 

Double Olympian, FIFA TheBest Women’s Player nominee, Ballon d’Or contender, England Women Player of the Year and above all… England’s all-time record goalscorer. 

It’s been some year for Ellen White. 

The City and England striker etched her name into the history books, becoming her country’s greatest ever female goal-scorer at the end of November – and she did it in some style, bagging a hat-trick in a sensational 20-0 win over Latvia a matter of days after earning her 100th Lionesses cap. 

An unforgettable moment for a player who has dedicated her life to the sport she loves – a consummate professional and truly inspirational role model, who strives to better herself every single day and leads by example, giving her all for Club and country. 

Speaking to Caroline Oatway in the aftermath of her momentous achievement, White expressed her pride – and her relief, having been tipped to accomplish the feat for some time. The emotion of the occasion was clear for all to see, as she wheeled away in celebration: joy, ecstasy, elation – and wearing her heart on her sleeve, she is not afraid to admit there were tears:

"I did cry. There’s a picture of me where I’m bent over with my hands on my face and I’m literally rubbing tears away. Georgia Stanway asked me: ‘Did you cry? Because I thought you had hay fever or something!’ 

“There was a lot of relief. The record had been spoken about for quite a while and people had been saying: ‘You’re so close! It’s only two more goals!’ but it’s not that easy to score for your country. 

“I felt a lot of emotion. My mum and dad were there in the crowd with my husband and my in-laws… I felt emotional but also for my teammates – to have had them all there wanting me to achieve it, celebrating with me was really special. 

“Everyone knows how much I love playing for England and although I don’t like talking about it much, I do understand that it’s an amazing record to break – it is an achievement to have surpassed Kelly Smith’s record and It’s something I’m really proud of. 

“It’s got to be up there with my best achievements. Firstly, reaching 100 caps – there are not many players who have reached that milestone – and that was never something I’d outlined from the start or anything because it’s so hard to do, it genuinely is. 

“I was there to witness Rachel Yankey, Rachel Unitt and Jill Scott do it and although I wasn’t at Steph Houghton’s 100thappearance, I’ve been involved in a lot of her caps. They are all phenomenal players who have reached that milestone but there were a lot of players who came before them that hadn’t, which is why I was really proud and I feel really lucky.” 

Naturally, White was inundated with congratulatory messages in the days following her success but it was the words of her fellow teammates which stirred the most satisfaction. Speaking after the extraordinary win over Latvia, having hit hat-tricks of their own, Lauren Hemp, Alessia Russo and Beth Mead hailed their ‘legendary, inspirational’ forward counterpart – a player and person they have always looked up to.

"I feel really honoured. It’s very special for me to have the respect of my peers and to have my teammates speak about me in that way."

That World Cup qualifying triumph had yielded plenty of ‘firsts’ for several Lionesses stars, including maiden goals and appearances for the next generation. Though White shies away from compliments and acclaim, she was touched by the sentiments of her peers, adding she hopes that one day she will witness one of the talented youngsters break her remarkable goal-scoring record. 

“It feels strange to be seen as a role model by your teammates!” she admits. “I feel really honoured. It’s very special for me to have the respect of my peers and to have my teammates speak about me in that way. 

“All I ever want is for my teammates to respect me. I try to be a good person first and foremost and hopefully, everything else comes from that. 

“I feel really lucky to be involved in an England side where we’ve got incredible talent coming through. For Hempo and Jess Carter to have scored their first England goals, Alessia to have come on for her debut and scored a hat-trick; Lotte Wubben-Moy to have started her first England game and to play alongside Ella Toone, who is a phenomenal talent, is amazing. 

"Of course, if someone was to go on and achieve great things for England, I’ll be there cheering them on."

“It’s a really exciting time to be an England player. We’ve had six wins out of six in World Cup qualifying so we’ve ended the year on a high and we have the Euros next year on home soil.   

“We’re playing against some hard nations in the games coming up but we’re in a good place at the moment. Sarina Wiegman and the staff she’s brought in have created a great bond. 

“With the team we’ve got and the togetherness we have, hopefully, we can take that momentum and confidence into the new year and hopefully, 2022 can be a big year for us.” 

So, now she has achieved her long-awaited record, what’s next for White? What motivates the City and England star to continue to perform at the highest level? And looking back, what would she say to the eight-year-old Ellen who was scouted for Arsenal? 

“It’s pretty mental to think about be honest!” she smiles. “If I was to go back and speak to my younger self, I’d tell her to enjoy every moment because it’s an incredible journey. 

“There have been ups and downs – everyone has challenges in life; I’ve had injuries and things away from the field – but they’ve really built me and made me into the person I am. 

"I want to get better and I want to help my team to win and achieve. It’s my job to score goals and I want to do all I can to score more."

“I don’t want to sit and think: ‘This is it.’ I’m always looking at my own game – I’m my own biggest critic and I always want to develop. 

“Even at 32, I want to do everything I can to improve and I’ve spoken to Sarina and Gareth Taylor and their staff, asking them to help me. ‘Tell me things to work on, tell me when I’m not good enough.’  

“I want to get better and I want to help my team to win and achieve. It’s my job to score goals and I want to do all I can to score more. 

“it’s been a great journey and hopefully, there’ll be much more to come.”

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Our former skipper and cult hero Andy Morrison continues to predict City's upcoming games. Last month, Andy got his first four results correct and was one goal out on each occasion In total, he got seven out of eight results right, but no correct scores. Here, he looks ahead to the five games up to mid-January.

Newcastle  v City
Sunday 19 December, 2:15pm kick-off

Eddie Howe’s men finally ended their long winless run against Burnley in December, but they are desperate to find another victory somewhere - but I don’t think they’ll do it here. They will have improved a bit, no doubt, but I can only see three points for City.
Mozzer’s prediction: Newcastle 1-3 City

City v Leicester
Sunday 26 December, 3pm kick-off

We are solid at home and though this will be a hard game, I think we will win. Brendan Rodgers always sets his team up well against us, with Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes a threat on the counter-attack, but we beat then at the King Power and I see us doing the same again on Boxing Day.
Mozzer’s prediction: City 2-0 Leicester

Brentford v City
Wednesday, 29 December, 8.15pm kick-off

I’ve watched Brentford a number of times this season and I always feel they leave themselves open at various points in the game. In fairness, they always have a go and won’t sit back and try to defend, so it should be a good game with plenty of goals – but I see us picking them off and it could be a long evening for the Bees.
Mozzer’s prediction: Brentford 1-5 City

Arsenal v City
Saturday, 1 January, 12:30pm kick-off

The fixture planners haven’t been kind to our travelling fans here! It’s an early kick-off on New Year’s Day, plus Arsenal will have a major advantage as they will have played at lunchtime a day earlier than us going into this game – that’s 32 hours more recovery. But, if we don't have any injuries, Pep will manage his rotation carefully and with that in mind, I see us winning this.
Mozzer’s prediction: Arsenal 1-3 City

Swindon Town v City
FA Cup 3rd round

Friday 7 January, 8pm kick-off

I imagine we will see some of our young stars in action for this game, as well as a few senior players who need minutes in their legs. We had a fright last season at Cheltenham, but I can't see that happening again. I think we'll have a good mix of experience and youth and, sorry Robins fans, I think it will be a thrashing. Mozzer's prediction: Swindon 1-6 City

City v Chelsea
Saturday 15 January, 12:30pm kick-off

We will be well rested and recharged going into this game as it will have been a fortnight since our last Premier League match and I’d imagine we wouldn’t field our strongest XI for the FA Cup 3rd round at Swindon the weekend before. We played superbly at Stamford Bridge and thoroughly deserved our 1-0 win and this will be tight again and I see Chelsea holding out for a score draw on this occasion.
Mozzer’s prediction: City 1-1 Chelsea

There’s much more to Ilkay Gundogan the footballer – his life outside the game often is dedicated to helping those less fortunate, as City Magazine discovers

Ilkay Gundogan knows Manchester well after almost six years in the city.

From his early injury set-backs to lockdowns and beyond, ‘Gundo’ has had time to absorb what Manchester is all about, as well as the people who live here.

“As I’ve said before I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Manchester City first of all gave me but then also the opportunities that I had from the city,”

In fact, so immersed in city life is Ilkay, that he launched a charitable initiative to help the Mancunians who need it most.

Intelligent on the pitch, compassionate off it, he should reach the 250-games mark this season – a fine milestone to go with the 10 trophies he’s won since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2016.

“As I’ve said before I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Manchester City first of all gave me but then also the opportunities that I had from the city,” says Gundo. “I have a life here that I really enjoy and I’m a part of a community that appreciates me.

“That’s something obviously very nice, something that you feel very comfortable with and that’s also the reason why I feel in myself so comfortable living here. Because of that it’s even more important to kind of understand the role that you have and also the responsibility that you have.”

That understanding and sense of wanting to help has led to Ilkay setting up a number of initiatives aimed at helping the community.

“There are a few organisations I’m involved with to be honest and for me personally it’s always important to have a connection to all of the charities that I’m a part of.”

One was aimed at local businesses – cafes and restaurants in particular who were hit hard by the pandemic - where he auctioned off a large number of match-worn shirts, boots and other memorabilia with proceeds given to those who needed support the most.

It’s that quiet, understated assistance that have earned the German international as much respect on the pitch as off it – and not only here, but in other countries that have played a huge part in his life.

“I did stuff in Turkey where I have my roots and my family have their roots. I did stuff in Germany where I was born, grew up and still have family as well.

“And then of course also here in Manchester, I support the community integrated care because it’s my sixth year here right now and time passes really quick. But it’s important for me also because I also identify myself also with the people here to give something back. I met this charity a couple of times and the people behind it and thought they were doing great work, and that is why we decided to cooperate with each other.”

Did he feel compelled to give something back? Was there a ‘light bulb’ moment at any point?

"I do think we can win the Premier League every year. We have a great team, a great manager and we’re a great club.

"Not really to be honest, it’s just something that’s developed over the years,” said the 31 year-old. “I think I was raised in a certain way, in a really good way by my family, specifically from my parents and I’m very grateful for that and for my parents, for what they did out of my brother and myself.

"I just think because we’re decent guys we know what’s important in life and what the priority should be. We also (know that we have) a certain responsibly for the community and for people who aren’t as privileged as we are. It just basically kicked off like that.”

It's refreshing to see such a high profile footballer so involved with people who are less fortunate. It is also something he clearly enjoys – so is this something he’ll continue after his playing days have ended?

“I hope so to be honest. I can’t tell for sure; I’d like to and will try to but sometimes you don’t know how things develop,” he said. “But as long as I feel myself in this privileged position I’ll try to give back as much as possible. I need to admit that I am also someone, I also have my own problems and fears or whatever and thoughts about life in general but compared to others that’s not much. As long as I feel like there’s enough room, time and possibility to help other people I will do it.”

"I think I was raised in a certain way, in a really good way by my family, specifically from my parents and I’m very grateful for that."

And City Magazine couldn’t let Ilkay go without checking in on the season so far.

With the Premier League possibly at its most competitive ever, does he feel City can land yet more silverware this season?

“Yes of course,” he smiled.

“Obviously that’s the target, I think a year without silverware is always a disappointment for us, so that should be the level that we always want to achieve and so we will do this year as well.”

With a fit and firing Ilkay Gundogan, that team success seems more likely than not!

With only 31 days to make those all-important decisions on who to bring in, the January transfer window can be a bit of a lottery.

But when it goes right, it can breathe new life into a team’s season - and there’s been plenty of players to come through the doors at City over the years and achieve exactly that!

From title winners to Manchester derby heroes, this month’s list earmarks six of our best January signings in recent memory…

Craig Bellamy

His stay might have been short, but Bellamy certainly made an important impact after joining from West Ham United in January 2009.

Final result aside, the forward’s thunderbolt at Old Trafford remains one of our most spectacular Manchester derby goals and he would also go on to grab a brace in our memorable 4-2 win at Chelsea that same season.

It was our first win at Stamford Bridge in 17 years and the Welshman’s pace, trickery and work rate were instrumental in helping us get the better of that season’s eventual champions.

Nigel De Jong

Signed in the same transfer window as Bellamy, De Jong would go on to make 137 appearances for City after making the switch from German outfit Hamburg.

During that time, ‘the Lawnmower’ was integral in helping the Club claim our first piece of major silverware in 35 years when we lifted the FA Cup in 2011.

And 12 months later, the Dutchman would be the man to start the move for *that* Sergio Aguero goal against QPR.

Aymeric Laporte

One of the finest central defenders of his generation, Aymeric Laporte continues to play a vital role in City’s current quest for success.

Joining Pep Guardiola’s men from Athletic Bilbao midway through our Centurions campaign, the Spain international instantly hit the ground running to help us claim a league and cup double.

He was equally influential in our domestic clean sweep the following season and, more recently, grabbed the winner in our fourth successive Carabao Cup triumph in April.

Edin Dzeko

A hugely popular figure among supporters, Edin Dzeko signed from Wolfsburg in January 2011.

A four-goal haul at White Hart Lane in August 2011 and late equaliser in our title-clinching 3-2 win over QPR capped off a hugely successful opening 18 months in England.

Dzeko’s five goals in the final five matches of the season two years later were also crucial in helping City pip Liverpool to the Premier League crown.

The Bosnian’s contribution in those five successive wins, plus his willingness to wind down the clock late on in one of those triumphs at Goodison Park, is still revered on the terraces today.

Patrick Vieira

Signing from Inter Milan on a free transfer in January 2010, the three-time Premier League winner added valuable experience to Roberto Mancini’s side.

Vieira would make 46 appearances for City during his 16 months at the Club, featuring in every round of our 2011 FA Cup win.

But his influence away from the pitch was just as vital, as Joleon Lescott recently explained on Matchday Live: “Before the semi-final of the FA Cup, Patrick ordered all the staff out of the dressing room, and he addressed the team.

“He had a different aura. We had leaders in the team, but Patrick was a different level. If he spoke, you were quiet.”


Debut goals are always special, but Benjani’s first for City tops the lot.

The Zimbabwean was on target in a 2-1 victory against Manchester United in February 2008 a matter of days after signing from Portsmouth.

His famous goal (and celebration) helped his new employers to our first win at Old Trafford since 1974.

Not a bad way to start your City career!

In honour of our record goal-scorer, our Best XI this month is made up of some of our many South American starts – which means Paulo Wanchope doesn’t make it as Costa Rica is, of course, in Central America!

Best keeper in the world has to take up the sticks for this Best XI. And if he gets bored, he can play in midfield!

The man, the legend, the Best XI right-back. Zaba adds more than a touch of steel to this attack-minded team.

Like Zaba, Nico will happily stay back and defend while those around him pour forward!

Another defender happy to defend, first and foremost.  Demichelis would complement Otamendi nicely in central defence.

Comfortable on either flank, Danilo takes up left-back duties for this team, with the off raid down the flank thrown in for good measure.

Our classy holding midfielder takes the anchor role and will keep this Best XI’s shape. He’ll have to forgo the captain’s armband on this occasion…

Steady and able to put in a biting tackle, Fernando would be a hive of industry and effort in the middle.

The grace and brilliance of Elano guarantees him the role of our South American XI play-maker – imagine his vision coupled with the front three we have….

A fantastic team player who will track back and help out his midfield and defence, Gab J is part of a very special forward trio.

The warrior from Buenos Aires and a wonderful striker, the never-say-die Carlos Tevez would ensure no defender slept well the night before!

Aguero (captain)
The greatest goal-scorer Manchester City have ever had, it is Kun Aguero who takes the No.10 shirt and leads this team which, of course, is very much in his honour.

Formation: 4-1-2-3
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini

In this month’s guest column, Nedum Onuoha reveals his experiences of the busy Christmas schedule as a Premier League player, but also explains why it has the power to define City’s campaign.

The Christmas period can be hectic. Everyone’s acutely aware of the fact that there are so many games, but you adapt, take it on the chin and understand it’s a really important part of the season. You’ve just got to learn to prepare differently, it’s just a case of doing as much as you can to make sure you stay available and in form because it’s a test for everyone.

I’d personally always hope we’d be at home on the 26th December so you wouldn’t have to travel on Christmas Day. I did it a few times, staying in hotels on Christmas night, and some mornings you’d train and then go home for a bit before having to meet up to travel. My first experience of that was when City played Sheffield United in 2006. Arriving at the hotel at 18:00 on Christmas Day as an 18-year-old, it’s not quite what you’d anticipated while your friends are all winding down and having a good time, but you learn that it’s the business and so you’re not surprised by it when it happens every year. It is what it is, but thankfully everyone’s taking part in it.

When the FA Cup gets thrown into the mix as well at the start of January it can be tough. Some teams go all out regardless because you want to go on a cup run but even then, you can put out your strongest team and not be guaranteed a win. The FA Cup will always be prestigious to anyone who gets the chance to lift the trophy. Sometimes the timing of it in January means there might be some rotation, but the intent still remains the same. You don’t just rely on 11 players in a season, you rely on the squad. It’s just being attempted by a different set of players.

I think some of the really big teams look at a season in totality; they’ll play maybe 50 or 60 games and rotate when they need to rotate. Sometimes it’ll be in the cup, sometimes in a league game, but it’s still a game they intend on winning to achieve their own objectives. That’s the beauty of the squad City have - we can rotate as and when we want and the standard doesn’t drop off. We can even supplement it with young promising talent in both attack and defence as well.

All of that being said, the New Year period can be key in where you eventually finish up at the end of the season. In the first part of the campaign, it feels like there’s an international break almost every four weeks which can disrupt your flow, but now there isn’t another one until March.

“Christmas and January is where your season can be defined, you can discover some form and climb the league or, in City’s case, potentially break away at the top.”

You can win three games in a week and be in a far different situation to seven days earlier. It’s a great opportunity to change the perception around what you’re doing at any time. Getting to the halfway stage of the season knowing you’re on a roll from here, things will move very quickly.

As has been well-documented, that December-January period is when City really kicked on last season. I was in the USA for the most part of 2020 but then when I came back, they basically won every game for two months straight. Looking back, it was probably the key point in the season because, after the start they had, people were very quick to write them off.

They’re in an even better position this time round and are capable of doing it again, but the Premier League is so competitive; playing well doesn’t guarantee you’ll win games. The thing that we have got going for us at the minute though is the performances are very good, and when they’re at that level, City tend to win more games than not.

I could see them going on a run of games again, but Chelsea or Liverpool could do the same thing. The amount of victories in a row last season was out of this world, so to expect a team to break a record every year is a bit of a reach. But then again, this is Manchester City and anything’s possible.

Tai Sodje can more than attest to the old proverb that absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Having made a fine start to the 2021/22 season having been elevated into City’s Elite Development Squad, the exciting striker’s promising progress has been halted by a frustrating foot injury.

Top scorer in our Under-18s Premier League title-winning squad of last season, the 18-year-old had transformed that fine form over to Brian Barry-Murphy’s EDS squad.

Sodje had claimed four goals from 10 appearances to help City’s Under-23s make a fine start when his campaign was grounded by injury.

A reoccurrence of an issue that first flared up late last term stopped Sodje in his tracks.

And with a comeback still at least a couple of months away, Tai admits his enforced spell on the sidelines has not only been a huge source of frustration – but has also only reinforced his appreciation and appetite for playing.

“I’ve got a stress fracture of the navicular, it’s like a bone in your foot and there’s also an issue with my ligaments,” Sodje revealed.

“I’m not too sure how it happened but I had a little niggle at the end of last season, so I missed a few games towards the back end. Then I was in at City throughout June just recovering.

“And then I came back fit and well for the start of the season and then it just flared up again.

“It has been so frustrating. It’s so tough to have to sit and watch – you just want to be out there playing football.

“But I’ve got be careful and patient as in the long run you don’t want something like this happening again.

“I was scoring goals and contributing and then I picked this up which isn’t great as I was really confident that I could go on and enjoy another really good season like last term.

"What makes it even tougher is that I did enjoy quite a good start to the season."

Sodje’s has been just one of a number of injuries afflicting our EDS squad with the likes of Liam Delap, Sam Edozie, Juan Larios, Darko Gyabi and Rowan MacDonald all side-lined for varying lengths of time.

From his own perspective, Sodje says that it won’t be until well into the New Year that he can look at a potential return to action.

But he says his rehabilitation has been made all the more palatable to bear by the fact he has been alongside several teammates in the City treatment room.

“In terms of me being back to playing games, at the moment we are looking at the start of March,” Tai added.

“Though maybe if it all goes well that timeframe could move to end of February.

“I’ve been doing upper body conditioning and different exercises.

“I couldn’t really do an awful lot generally as I’ve only just come off crutches – now I can start doing more.

“It has been so tough – just like going up and down stairs. And basic, practical things like going out of the house just became so ridiculously difficult.

"It does happen after your injury that your body can I suppose be in a much better condition."

“I also discovered that the crutches are so hard on your hands!

“The good thing is that I’ve been able to do my rehab with several of the other guys while they recover from their injuries so I haven’t been on my own.

“We have been able to keep each other’s spirts up.

“If one person is down, the other lads can help them and vice versa so we’ve all looked out for each other.

“And I’m hoping that I do come back even stronger.

“And there’s no doubt that I definitely will appreciate football 10 times more when I do come back!

“I have missed playing so much – I just want to be back out there helping the lads.”

A Year of Excellence

2021 will go down as one of Manchester City’s most memorable years to date, helped in no small part by our march to a third Premier League title in four seasons.

It’s been a similar story this season, with City’s defence of the title in full swing as we go toe to toe with Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the table.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Pep Guardiola’s men have been among the most highly sought-after players in Fantasy Premier League.

But which of our City stars has claimed the most FPL points across the calendar year? Who was the most popular selection among FPL managers? And who has featured the most in the FPL Dream Team?

Find out in our comprehensive 2021 stat roundup below:

*Stats correct as of Wednesday 15 December*

Total points

1st – Ilkay Gundogan (183)
nd – Joao Cancelo (176)
rd – Ederson (172)

With an astonishing 183 points in 28 matches, Ilkay Gundogan is Manchester City’s highest points-earner for 2021.

The German claimed 121 points in 16 appearances between January and May of 2021, as he helped City to a third Premier League title in four seasons.

And that fine form has continued with a further 62 points so far this campaign in the 12 games he’s featured in.

Gundogan is run close by Joao Cancelo, who has earned the third-most FPL points in the entire Premier League since August, while Ederson completes the top three with an impressive 172.

Highest team selection percentage

Ilkay Gundogan – 39.09%

An incredible 3,174,182 FPL managers selected Ilkay Gundogan for their team ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Fulham in February 2021.

It came off the back of the German midfielder registering ten goals and two assists from midfield in 14 matches from the start of the year, which translated into 106 FPL points.

Joao Cancelo is Gundogan’s closest rival when he was selected by 38.56% of players in City’s Premier League win away to Watford at the start of December.

Appearances in FPL Dream Team

1st – Joao Cancelo (seven)
nd Phil Foden (six)
rd Ilkay Gundogan/Bernardo Silva (five)

An impressive 14 different City players have made the cut in the FPL Dream Team during 2021 – a Premier League XI drawn from the highest points-earners across a week of fixtures.

Joao Cancelo’s haul of seven is just enough to see him edge out Phil Foden, with the Portuguese international already making the cut on four occasions so far this campaign.

Incredibly, only Mohamed Salah has featured in the FPL Dream Team more across 2021-22 than our gifted defender.

Largest points total in a single Gameweek

1st – John Stones (27)
nd – Ferran Torres/Riyad Mahrez (20)
rd – Ilkay Gundogan (19)

John Stones’ brace in our 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in January 2021 helped him earn an astonishing 27 FPL – more than any other City player has earned in one Gameweek.

The defender’s two goals, clean sheet and three bonus points saw him pip Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres and Ilkay Gundogan to the post.

Mahrez’s brace against Southampton and Torres’ hat-trick away to Newcastle last season saw them both earn 20 points, while Ilkay Gundogan’s two goals and one assist against Tottenham in February 2021 sees him complete the top three.

Average points per game

1st – Ilkay Gundogan (6.5)
nd – Kevin De Bruyne (6.3)
rd – Phil Foden – (6.2)

Ilkay Gundogan once again comes out on top when looking at average FPL points per game across the calendar year.

The German earned 183 in just 28 Premier League games for City across 2021, which equates to an astonishing 6.5 per match.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden come in second and third, with 120 points from 19 games and 162 points from 26 games respectively.

Between March 1992 and December 1995, Michel Vonk made 102 appearances for City, scoring five goals. The Dutch central defender was a popular figure at Maine Road and later played for Sheffield United and managed Sparta Rotterdam. City Magazine caught up wit him for a brief Q&A…

Do you recall how you discovered City were interested in you?

“I was playing for SVV/Dordrecht then. I heard, prior to a midweek match against Volendam, that Sam Ellis was coming  to watch me play. He liked what he saw that night and invited me two days later to come over to City for a trial. After three days into this trial I passed the test and signed for City.” 

Did you speak with Gerard Wiekens at any stage? 

“Gerard came a few years later after me to City. We didn't speak beforehand. In 2017 we were at City together to watch City play Feyenoord in the Champions League.”

What was your first season under Peter Reid like?

“I came during the ‘91-92 season. I broke into the team really quick and played all the remaining games until the end of the season. This was still in the old First Division. The season next, it became the new Premier League.

Were you surprised when he was sacked?

“Yes, it was quite a shock. We started off with a few disappointing results at the beginning of the season and then unfortunately he was sacked. This was also due to the boardroom troubles at that time, Peter Swales was under quite some pressure and getting stick of the City fans.”

Did you enjoy playing alongside Keith Curle?

Yes! He helped me tremendously to settle in the team nicely ! I think we were complementary to each other in the back of the City defence. Off the pitch we got along fine as well.”

What was the main difference between Reid and new manager Brian Horton?

“Brian came over from Oxford United. He had to fill some boots after Reid was sacked. The fans reacted with ‘Brian who?’ at that time? I think we just managed to stay up at the end of the season." 

Beagrie, Walsh and Rosler all joined in the final third of 93/94 – what impact did they make?

“They all made quite an impact. And I think Uwe Rosler became a Maine Road favourite really fast.”

In your final season, you started about half the games – was that through injury?

“I wasn’t injured, but, at this time in England the three foreigner rule was still in effect. You couldn't not play more than three foreign players in a team. Due to some injuries the German goalkeeper Eike Immel also came in at last minute before the season started. In  November '95 I was loaned to Oldham for one month. After this I signed for Sheffield United in December '95 and left City.”

Were you sad to leave?

“Yes, of course. But at Oldham and later in Sheffield I could play first team football again.”

Have you been back since?

“Yes I have been back on several occasions. In 2010, in 2015 and 2017 I have been back to meet up with some old friends and able to visit City and watch them play. Both last two times in the new Etihad Stadium.”

What do you think of City today?

“It is a real pleasure to see them play. The style of football is different class and a real treat to watch. I think winning prizes now is a deserved reward for the real, pure, passionate, loyalty of the Manchester City fans. I really liked to play for them at Maine Road at that time. They made me feel welcome and part of the City family.”

In the first of a special two-part series, Elite Development Squad assistant lead coach Danny Walker talks to Neil Leigh about his remarkable and rewarding coaching journey at City...

If Elite Development Squad assistant lead coach Danny Walker derives a special sense of pride from seeing the exciting and deep pool of talent emerge from City’s Academy over these past few years, then it’s with good reason.

For few at the Club boast such an impressive and lengthy backstory in terms of helping aid and develop the countless number of talented young players to have developed at the CFA over the past decade.

Though currently in his second season working with our Under-23s, all told Danny has spent the past 12 years helping guide and mentor successive generations of City starlets across myriad age groups.

It’s a journey that has taken the 32-year-old Yorkshireman from Platt Lane to the CFA and various exciting ports of call around England and beyond.

And it’s one that has been rewarding and revelatory in ways he could never have expected.

“All told, I’ve been here 12 years now and it has been a fantastic experience,” Danny admits.

“Initially I was brought to the club by Trevor Todd who is now head of our Junior Academy and local recruitment and who has been something of a mentor to me right from the beginning.

“Across those 12, City has been a really important part of who I am and what I am in terms of a coach today.

“I started off working in grassroots football, development centres, shadow squads, football initiatives and then started off at Leeds United in terms of elite football where I spent four years.

“I worked at Barnsley for a season, spent six months in Mexico City working for Coerver Coaching which is a methodology based around individual skill development - 1v1s up to 4v4 and 5v5…before I came to City.

"And when I stop to look back it has been amazing really. I was speaking to Trev recently, and I said it’s crazy as there are only two or three age groups at the Club that I’ve not been involved with!"

“I’ve been lucky enough to work with virtually every single age group: Under-7s, 8s, 9s, 10s, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18s and 23s. It’s been unbelievable.

“It’s incredible as the lads that are now in our Under 18s, I first saw them when they were Under 6s!.

“So, I’ve come through with those young lads, the current Under-16s and current Under-18s were the two main age groups I looked after at Under-7s Under-8s and 9s when I was lead coach at those ages

“I’ve worked with them quite a lot over the years and in my time at City. Now they are turning into young men so to see that journey is probably one of the best things and most unique things about being a coach.

“Most coaches don’t spend too much time at one club, they tend to do a four or five-year stint max and then they move on to somewhere different or they see an opportunity elsewhere

“But for me it has been a privilege to work here and see the lads develop, grow and get to the stage where they are at now.

“They’re now at the business end if you like where they are trying to forge themselves professional careers where at the other end it’s about the enjoyment of starting to play for Manchester City, learning and teaching them our concepts and the way we want to work which is not easy by the way!

“City is now not only about competing and winning games, but also about winning a certain way and that is something I have always tried to stick to since I came to City.”

City’s magnificent Academy set-up forms one of the key central building blocks of our incredible City Football Academy campus here in East Manchester.

But prior to that, the Club’s youngsters were developed and honed at Platt Lane – a venerable institution in its own right but the very epitome of old school English football development set-ups.

Situated a stone’s throw away from our former Maine Road home, Platt Lane may have lacked the cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities that form the centre point of the CFA.

"I remember when I joined the Club, we were pushing in all aspects of the Academy to be better on the grass"

But though raw and rudimentary in comparison to the array of sophisticated appliance of science available today, Danny believes its humble background still helped shape and bring the best out of him as he was learning his coaching craft

“I remember when I joined the Club, we were pushing in all aspects of the Academy to be better on the grass,” Danny recalls.

“I came in around the time Mark Hughes was manager. We were pushing the best academies locally, we were in competition with Man United, Liverpool, Everton. Our Academy was still based at Platt Lane, and we obviously didn’t have the amazing facilities that we have now.

“We were scrapping around for pitch spaces, we had limited facilities compared to what our staff and players are used to now at CFA.

“Now we have got access to absolutely everything, analysts’ tools, lots of equipment, top facilitates, top pitches, watered grass, even some of the pitches have under-soil heating which is incredible

“So, we have got an absolutely fantastic opportunity to practice being a coach but when I think of that kind of experience back at Platt Lane, and of working at Leeds United, working at Barnsley where you had to pump your own balls up, wash your own bibs, clean your own cones, that kind of stuff, I think I have been fortunate in that respect to have that been through that experience.

“The real skill I think is when you've got limited resources. When you are having to get things out of your own pocket sometimes, where you are having to maximise a quarter of the pitch when you have 20 eight-year olds at Platt Lane and you have only got 10 minutes to get set, so you race on to get your goals and session sorted.

“Looking back, stuff like that has been really important to me.”

The other unique aspect of the role for Danny is the special rapport and relationships the coaching role affords him, not just with the young players under his tutelage but also their wider families.

And he says having just a pivotal role in the player’s journey and development from a young emerging talent into a potential first team prospect provides the ultimate in job satisfaction and professional and personal pride.

“The biggest thing for me is that I don’t think too many coaches would get that experience, of seeing lads grow, going on that journey with them from a young age,” Danny explained.

“There are a lot of coaches in the Academy who have done so much good work over the years, who have seen the likes of Phil Foden, Cole Palmer, the lads that are now in and around the first team.

“They have done really good work with them, but they are still around working with the younger ages and seeing them flourish from a different angle whereas I’ve been lucky to see them develop and grow from pitch side, coaching them to this stage which is an unbelievable experience, really.

“You also get close to the families as well as the player.

“So, if you think you spend five or six years with the same team, you start to build a relationship with not just the player but with mum, dad, grandparents and you start to develop a trust.

“There can be really honest conversations with those players where they know there is a respect and a trust there.

“Whatever feedback it is; whether it is constructive or not, they know it is coming from a good place.

“It is in-between the eyes and it is honest, and they’ll decide whether they want to take it or not. I would say that the lads I have grown up with who are now within the older ages of the Academy, I can have an honest conversation with most of them and they will take it on board.

“It’s a surreal experience – but a very privileged one, too.”

Next month: Danny on the advent of City’s Academy philosophy and his pride in City’s Academy first team debutants.

Remember, remember the last day of November 2021... Lauren Hemp certainly will. It was the day she scored her first senior England goals - not one, not two, not three... but FOUR.

Having also clinched the Northwest Football 'Rising Star' Award and having earned yet another nomination for the FA Women's Super League Player of the Month, the three-time PFA Player of the Year enjoyed a truly unforgettable week.

We catch up with our wing wonder, as she reflects on the latest in a line of incredible career achievements...

Lauren, first of all, well done also on your Northwest Football Award - another prize to add to your collection. How did that feel?

"It was an honour to win the award and it feels amazing to be recognised by so many people across the country. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!"

One of several City players on both the women's and men's side to have been nominated for honours, Chloe Kelly also scooped the NWFA Player of the Season award. Tell us about her...

"Chloe is an unbelievable girl and a crazy talent. Unfortunately, she's out injured at the moment but she's been amazing throughout.

"Of course, we share a big winger connection and I'm itching for her to get back on the pitch so that can continue. It's great to have her on the team. She's a great person and she's always messaging us, wishing us well in every game we play.

"We have amazing talent here at City and the signings we've made are incredible. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the Club."

Many congratulations, too, on your first England goals. You told mancity.com afterwards that it was an 'unbelievable' feeling. Although it was only your 14th cap, many people actually expressed their surprise that it was your first goal so looking back, was there also some relief?

"Yeah, a lot of people were saying they were surprised!

"I'd been waiting for ages and it had always been in the back of my mind so I'm glad I've done that now - I can relax a bit now it's off my back!

"I play my best football when I enjoy it so I tried to forget about it, thinking: 'It will come when it wants to' and I think that's how I managed to score!"

And it was an incredible night for Ellen White as well, as she became the Lionesses' all-time leading markswoman. What was it like in the dressing room after the game?

"There were so many congratulatory messages for her! It's credit to her - she's an unbelievable person and I couldn't have wished it on anyone other than her.

"We get on really well and we have a great connection and chemistry on the pitch. You could see it last season with Chloe, too. It's so good when you're on that level with someone: you just know where they're going to be or where they're going to put the ball.

"I really respect Ellen as a player and a person. She's had a fantastic career and there's still so much she can do for the game. She's a real role model for people to look up to and I hope to aspire to be like that one day."

On that note, Lucy Bronze recently told us you remind her a lot of a younger version of herself. What did that mean to you?

"That's nice coming from Lucy Bronze, who is one of the best players in the world!

"We get on well and I do see parts of her game that are similar to mine. It's nice to be able to learn from her and watch her every day: what she's doing, and implement that in my game.

"Hopefully, one day, I can be as good as her!"

You have already achieved so much, despite the fact you're only 21. How do you stay motivated to achieve more and handle the pressure of expectation when people have tipped you for great things?

"I know myself and I know I'm not the finished product. I know I can do so much more to keep improving and that will only come with working with my coaches and teammates.

"The talent around me is incredible and I'm only going to get better surrounded by the best players. That's my driving motivation and I know there's much more to come."

"In terms of handling the pressure, I do get nervous before games but I don't think it necessarily shows. I'm quite good at hiding it! A lot of the time, there is pressure on me to perform and that will only increase throughout the years - but that's exciting."

"It's nice to have that pressure because it means you're expected to do well based on the things you've done in the past. That drives me to work hard and improve, and show people what I'm capable of. Hopefully, I'll carry on doing that for the rest of my career."

As we approach the end of 2021, now seems a good time to reflect on the season so far. What has been your assessment?

"It hasn't gone how we planned to begin with. Now, it's about finding our form and being consistent, although in some games, the performances have been there even if the results haven't.

"It's important to maintain the level of performance we put in against Aston Villa and Leicester, making sure the results come with that. There are still some trophies up for grabs and it's important to make the most of that - I love to pick up trophies and that's why I'm at this Club with its ambition."

Have there been any positives from this period?

"Sometimes, losing is the way you learn and we've learned a lot this season. As a group, we've made sure we've stuck together - tough times can make you closer and that has been a positive: off the pitch, we're all good friends and we have a close bond.

"It's been a massive learning curve but that just makes us want to work harder and improve - to put things right so we can win some trophies at the end of the season."

It was a busy summer of transfer activity - six new faces arriving. How have they settled in?

"We've made some great signings in all areas of the pitch and it's exciting to find out what they can bring in the future.

"It's been fantastic having them around - they have fitted in well and it's great to see them doing well: Bunny Shaw has already scored a hat-trick, players are scoring goals, Ruby Mace has come in as a young player and slotted in seamlessly - you'd never know she was only 18.

"Different people bring different strengths, which has only lifted the team, and it's great for me to learn from those players. Some of them are older than me so it's useful to learn from their experiences - the things they've done in their careers. Hopefully, together we can keep building."

Do you have a message for the fans?

"Firstly, thank you for your support. This season has not started how we wanted it to but it's important that the fans stick with us, raising our spirits.

"You are the twelfth player. We hear you and really appreciate you and we'd love for you to keep backing us, willing us on.

"From the bottom of my heart, please continue to support us. The results are going to come. We're working hard every single day to try and put things right and we'll continue to do that."

On some occasions such as these no introduction to our subject is required… and this  is such a case. But I will anyway.

Dennis Tueart is a Manchester City legend.

Upping sticks from the north east, Dennis joined City in 1974 and just two years later cemented his name in the annals of MCFC history when he scored an iconic overhead kick goal to win the 1976 league Cup Final against Newcastle United. This was to be one of two stints at Maine Road for Dennis who left us for New York Cosmos in 1978 but returned two years later for a second four-year term.

In a competition to identify the League Cup's greatest moment Dennis’ screamer was perched rightly in the Number 1 slot.

Go Dennis!

St. James’ Park in 1955 when the team arrived back after winning the FA Cup

December 1969, Sunderland v Sheffield Wednesday. A learning 6 out of 10. When the winter pitch was a typical skating rink.

Memorable moments are when you win things, i.e. Sunderland 1973, Manchester City 1976 and New York Cosmos, North American Champions 1978.


Liverpool mid 70s. They were a really strong, skilful, aggressive, organised and disciplined team.

Dennis Tueart, King of All Geordies!' -obviously!

I always wore white bandage tags on my socks.

So many with the passing and movement of this current team.

Obvious answer, 1976.

Kevin De Bruyne to discuss his calmness under pressure and professional attitude, especially the role of agents in the game.

Yes, when Aguero scored that last minute winner against QPR.

Just general aggression - but I was sent off for a headbutt against Hartlepool!

A full chanting Kippax terrace on an evening winter game when it felt as if they were on the pitch.

Wouldn’t like to guess.

Paul Power, a university graduate and know-all!

As one of the finest rugby league players of his generation, Paul Wellens won it all during a 17-year career at St. Helens.

A Saints legend, Wellens lifted 12 trophies over the course of his time at his hometown club, where he made 495 appearances and won five Super League Grand Finals, five Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges.

With a quintet of Super League titles to his name, Wellens enjoyed some of his finest moments at Old Trafford, but when it comes to football, it is at the Etihad Stadium where his allegiances lie.

City Magazine caught up with the 2006 Super League Man of Steel to discuss all things City.

Paul, thanks for speaking to us. Can you start by telling us how you became a City fan?

Living in St Helens, we have Everton and Liverpool to the west and City and United on the east, so there are fans of all those clubs in the town. All my school mates were Evertonians, but two of my older brothers support City. My eldest brother is 20 years older than me, so he got into watching City because of Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee and I just followed suit.

Can you remember your first game?

Weirdly enough, my first City game was at Anfield. My eldest brother worked in Liverpool and we sat in the home end. It was 1989 and we lost 3-1. The result didn’t go our way but going to your first game is always a great experience. I was only nine-years-old, but I can still remember it vividly and that feeling as a kid when you first walk into a stadium and it feels enormous.

Which was your first love, rugby or football?

It was always rugby. I was a massive St. Helens fan. I grew in the shadows of the old Knowsley Road Stadium, so it has always been something that has been part of my life, but I always had an interest in watching and playing football as a kid. The more my rugby career progressed, the less football I played. When I was playing, going to watch City was always a welcome distraction and it’s the same now I’m coaching. It’s a great way for me to spend time with my family.

"I remember Georgi Kinkladze and Uwe Rosler being the first two players that I really enjoyed watching. They were two players you could get excited about."

What are you stand out memories from following City?

My first game at Maine Road was Frank Clark’s first game as manager. I remember going there for the first time, that old style ground that is a thing of the past now, but stadiums like that had plenty of character. City weren’t in the top division at the time, but those experiences were really good. It was a period of up and down years, but a lot of City fans look back on it with fond memories. I think there are a lot of City fans that like the fact we had those challenging times because it makes you appreciate the good times even more. I remember Georgi Kinkladze and Uwe Rosler being the first two players that I really enjoyed watching. They were two players you could get excited about. There were some tough periods, but part and parcel of being a football fan is that you enjoy the good times, but you also accept the bad times and get behind your team. Thankfully, things have come good for us and we are watching some fantastic football now.

Given your rugby commitments, how much have you been able to follow City?

I only retired in 2015 so it wasn’t easy for me to go to games because I was playing for Saints at the weekend. As my playing career was winding down, my son wanted to start going more regularly, so we got season tickets to have the option to go more often. Before then, we would go to the Etihad whenever we could, and we managed to get to quite a lot of games before getting a season ticket.

It’s quite common for sportsmen and women to look to other sports for inspiration. Have you ever had the opportunity to link up with City?

In recent years I’ve done some work with the Academy through a former colleague from my time at England Rugby League. I visited City’s Academy to look at the way they run things in the hope we might see something that could benefit us. We were really impressed with the way things were run. The facilities are obviously impressive, but any quality organisation has good people as well to complement the great facilities and that was certainly very evident at City. You could see why the junior teams, the under-18s and the EDS have so much success because there’s some great people who work there.

What’s been your assessment of the season so far?

I’ve really enjoyed it. What I love about the team this year is they have won games in a lot of different ways. When we haven’t performed as well, they have responded the week after, which is important. We’ve missed key players, but the form hasn’t dipped and that’s a big strength of City’s. People have come in and taken their opportunity and that’s been evident for a number of years under Pep Guardiola. I know from playing rugby league at the highest level that you look around the dressing room and think: “I’ve got to perform well this week because if I don’t someone will take my place.” You see that at City. I can’t remember many games that I turn up to and don’t expect us to perform well and win. That’s something a lot of City fans have had to get used to in recent years – that expectation. The pressure they play under week in week out is a great thing but at the top end of sport pressure is a privilege.

Every year, for the Christmas issue of the NME, we’d talk musicians into dressing up in some loosely themed manner – favourite album covers by other bands, favourite TV programmes, favourite film stars etc etc – Bez as Bob Marley, and Blur as Blondie are two, erm, unforgettable moments. Maybe I’ll save those for another issue...

This time I thought I’d show you some other Christmassy photographs I’ve shot.

If I was lucky, I could talk our local heroes into going out in the snow for a winter wonderland scene. Two Manchester favourites – Joy Division and Mark E Smith of The Fall were more than happy to trudge through the bleak Manchester weather to give me extra bleak northern winter shots for the paper. Buzzcocks on the other hand were keen to visit Santa in his grotto – OK then – at Lewis’s on Market Street – to enable us to run another seasonally-themed photo in our Christmas issue.

Finally, we come to Happy Mondays – or Shaun and Bez anyway. Once we got the Santa with Cigarettes and Alcohol shots in the bag, I think they were relieved to do nothing more energetic than lie amongst the Christmas decorations. It’s not very rock ‘n’ roll, but even hell-raisers want to have a peaceful Christmas – don’t they?

Talking of which: here’s to a bountiful holiday period for the Blues, and let’s hope we can all have a better New Year in 2022 than the previous two we’ve mainly endured.

Kevin Cummins

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Daniel Fresco, writer and journalist. Sergio Aguero's biographer, chronicler of Born to Rise: My story.

I write these words with mixed feelings. These are products of the end of a dazzling era that saw a one-of-a-kind player ascend to become a legend and an icon for Manchester City. The pride for all that he has done is accompanied by the sadness of the circumstances that led to his unexpected early retirement.

Over the course of the 10 seasons that Sergio spent at Manchester City, I watched every single one of his games. I had the honour to witness at the Etihad several title-defining matches. And I was able to see first-hand his commitment to the club, the respect he receives from his peers, and love - yes, full on love - that the fans have for him, and a requited love at that. That is a bond that only a few select figures can build, and one that will last forever.

He arrived in 2011, at the young age of 23. A rising football star whose potential had been materialising – but with the challenge ahead to reaffirm this talent in the most competitive league of the world. Sergio had joined a club undergoing a reconstruction process, guided by the visionary leadership of its owners to turn it into one of the top teams of the 21st century. A noble and ambitious objective for sure – yet nonetheless an aspirational goal with no guarantee of success.

I remember how Sergio described his feelings when he travelled from Madrid to join the team: his excitement to accomplish his dream to play for the Premier League and his eagerness to play an integral role in the squad. Yet, inexplicable as it is wont to be, it was love at first sight.

Sergio chose Manchester City and Manchester City chose Sergio back. He had an enviable debut match, and his first season culminated with the first Premier League title for the Sky Blues in 44 years.

A simple number – 93:20 – became a symbol of a club, channelling the spirit of its founders and the will to "fight 'til the end" back to life. The mystique of the club was captured in sound and image, the very moment a player became an icon.

However, that wasn't the only moment that marked his tenure. In the nine following seasons, Kun showed that he could always rise up to the challenge – his consistency allowed him to beat records left and right, and he took a pivotal role in making the team secure more titles than ever before.

No series of coincidences can explain these achievements. As the title of the biography I had the honour of memorialising, Sergio was born to rise. The love of his family made up for the penuries of his childhood – by their ability to foster his precocious talent for football and to create the conditions that facilitated its development. Agüero was introduced to some of the finest professional agents in the business to further his career. To bring out the best of the team, and to allow the team to bring out the best in him, Sergio had the wisdom to listen to sage advice, maintain a mindset for constant learning, and put those teachings into practice.

This has been a recurring theme through Sergio's professional career. And even so, it is built on a foundation that is more intimate and vital: Kun's kindness, generosity, humility, spontaneity. Combined with his authenticity and charisma, this allows him to win over all and sundry. And that's how he turned the chants for "Sergio, Sergio" that were characteristic of his supporters at the Etihad, into a Sir-Gio, a spiritual knighthood that represents all of his human qualities.

Time has come for his retirement and I know for a fact it is not an easy thing for him.

But he does so in high spirits, instilled with the emotions he has collected over a professional career of 18 years, and especially after his achievements in Manchester - a city that is his home away from home. With these feelings in his heart, he will be able to face the challenges to come.

He leaves a legacy of perseverance and continuity – and there's no better representation of it than Phil Foden, who as a boy saw that emblematic 13 of May of 2012 from the seats of Etihad, and has been able to become a player that stands for the best values of the club, imbued by that exemplary, foundational moment.

It is a departure, but never a farewell. Legends don't retire – they prevail for time immemorial.

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