Welcome to a City Magazine with a difference – our World Cup special!
In a special one-off, we’ve created a digital City Mag dedicated to all-things World Cup – though all pointing back to our players, past and present.
Kicking off with our cover star and main interview, we speak with Rodrigo ahead of his first World Cup.
He talks of his hopes and dreams with Spain and reveals how being a City player is helping him establish himself in the national team.
Next up, you’ll be hearing ‘World in Motion’ no doubt a lot in the coming weeks – perhaps the finest World Cup song ever, as sung by englandneworder.
We have the backstory of the video shoot in 1990 – complete with the brilliant John Barnes rap – from City Mag columnist Kev Cummins who was there to capture it all on film.
Nostalgia is never far away when a new tournament comes around so why not rewind to one of the very best – Argentina ’78?
Our former defender Willie Donachie witnessed the event in the flesh, as part of the Scotland squad that travelled to South America in hope more than expectation.
He recalls how the tartan dreams turned to dust in a colourful recollection of an incredible time.
And it goes on…
We’ve a special feature on Poland captain Kaziu Deyna – who was also at the ’78 World Cup prior to joining the Blues - before a fascinating interview with former crowd favourite Nigel de Jong, who was the first City player to ever feature in a World Cup final back in 2012.
And there’s more…
Former England No.1 Karen Bardsley recalls her favourite World Cup memories, while ex-City defender Mick McCarthy – manager of Republic of Ireland at the 2002 World Cup – recalls his favourite City goal.
We’ve also managed to form a Best XI World Cup squad – one player maximum from each nation – and The List features our best players to have never graced the world’s biggest tournament - and there's a wonderful team in there, somewhere, too.
Finally, we hop into our Time Machine for our first ever interview with World Cup winner David Silva from 2012.
So, enjoy all the above and remember, our December City Mag will be released as normal on the 1st of next month.
Rodrigo shares his view of the World Cup, and his hopes and dreams on the global stage…
Few people would argue that Rodrigo has developed into one of the world’s best holding midfielders.
He has become integral to everything City do, honing his craft under Pep Guardiola and former skipper Fernandinho's tutelage.
The end result is a player capable of starting moves, breaking up play, scoring goals and finding team-mates with an enviable passing range.
The 26-year-old didn’t make the Spain squad for 2018, but he will be in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup after making the cut this time around.
In fact, his inclusion was never in any doubt, and only legendary Spain international Sergio Busquets – now 34 and almost certainly playing his last World Cup – has stopped Rodrigo adding to the 35 caps he had accumulated going into the tournament.
Luis Enrique knows Rodrigo is the natural successor to his old Barcelona team-mate Busquets, and it will be fascinating to see whether the ascension to La Roja’s anchor role happens in Qatar or afterwards.
“I was at the last World Cup in 2018, not in the squad who were selected, but I helped the guys, and I could feel what the World Cup was all about.”
For now, the City star says he is honoured to be representing his country at the World Cup and says he is ready to serve his nation when called upon.
“It means a lot to be in the squad,” said Rodrigo.
“I was at the last World Cup in 2018, not in the squad who were selected, but I helped the guys, and I could feel what the World Cup was all about.
“But this is my first one. I was very happy to receive the news that I was included, and it made me very proud.”
Grounded and humble, Rodrigo recognises the sacrifices of those around him and how they have helped him get to this stage.
Those closest to him will be in Qatar to cheer him on, but he believes his progress is also down to his happiness at City and feeling at home in Manchester.
“This is not the success of just me but the people who helped me since I was little,” he reflected.
“My family will be there (in Qatar), my friends will be there, so I am very proud to represent my country and hope that we can do a good job.
“I remember, when I was about to join City, my parents asked me: ‘are you sure you want to move to another country?’
“I said: ‘Mum, Dad, if I am happy, I really don’t care where I am.’
“Honestly, I am enjoying it a lot where I am. Sometimes people talk not very good about the weather, but this is not important for me.
“What’s important is to enjoy my job, to be with my girlfriend, family and I enjoy this city a lot.
“When you are happy with the place, you are happy with everything.
“It is four years that I have been here at City and working with Pep Guardiola and I have had good coaches in the past.
“It seems normal to me now to have him, but of course it is not normal.
“For sure, he makes history wherever he goes; Barcelona, Bayern and of course here. He has changed the game I think since he came here.
“He has made me a different player, a top player in the sense of my knowledge of the game, how I have to behave, the role in the team, some aspects that are important in the game.
“He is one of the best and the one thing that most impresses me is that he has won everything. He is still hungry every day, he is demanding every day, doesn’t relax and that is something that is impressive.”
Returning to the World Cup, and Rodrigo says the first time he really absorbed the tournament was Germany 2006, when, as a 10-year-old boy, he was dreaming one day wearing the red shirt and blue shorts of his national team.
Spain were knocked out by France in the Round of 16 that year, but La Roja were on the cusp of an incredible period of European and world dominance.
“Yeah, I remember the first World Cup was the Germany one, 2006, the one Italy won,” he said.
“That was my first memory of the World Cup. Of course, the next one was the one Spain won, and that was incredible.”
“You don’t expect anything. We’re going there to do our best job and to try to win the trophy. That is the dream for every player.”
Can Spain win their second World Cup this winter?
Bookmakers suggest Brazil and Argentina are the favourites to succeed in Qatar, with France, England and Spain all rated as possible champions according to their pre-tournament odds.
Rodrigo is pragmatic, saying it is too difficult to predict.
“You never know, but football makes such good things,” he said.
“You don’t expect anything. We’re going there to do our best job and to try to win the trophy. That is the dream for every player.
“To be honest, it is the most difficult tournament in football.
“The best players are going there, and the best national teams. I think we have a great staff and squad to try to achieve, knowing it will be so, so difficult, always with the mentality to win this. We will see."
City Mag was once a thriving physical magazine...
For the 2002 World Cup, we got three of our players together for a photo-shoot at Carrington...
As ever, these things are rarely straightforward and managing to get all three players together at once, as well as sourcing the flags of their nations, proved a tricky undertaking.
Lucien Mettomo was representing Cameroon, Richard Dunne was heading to Korea and Japan with the Republic of Ireland and Costa Rica's Paulo Wanchope completed the trio.
The lads were all good natured and the skies were blue - which helped - but there always seemed to be a gusty wind blowing across Carrington which meant we had to be patient to get the shot we needed.
Whatever our photographer said had the guys smiling, but we are not sure what became of the flags...
Remembering Argentina ‘78
It was the World Cup that had everything – and one former City player recalls it all vividly…
There are few World Cup tournaments that quite match the colour and sheer theatre of Argentina ’78.
Controversy, shock results, wonderful football, and the host nation’s unforgettable tickertape reception before each game.
It was the greatest sporting event the world had ever seen, and it was beamed to a global audience who couldn’t get enough of this spectacular festival of football.
England had surprisingly missed the boat, so it was Scotland – the only home nation to have made the finals – who became the focus of British interest in Argentina.
City had two first team regulars named in the squad, with left-back Willie Donachie and midfield schemer Asa Hartford selected by manager Ally MacLeod.
Scotland was at fever pitch prior to the team’s departure with the record ‘Ally’s Tartan Army’ reaching No.6 in the UK charts after shifting 360,000 copies.
Donachie, who had by then been a City player for a decade, was Scotland’s first choice left-back and only injury would have denied him a seat on the plane headed for Buenos Aires.
“I’d played in all the qualifiers, so I expected to make the squad,” said Donachie, now coaching Accrington Stanley youngsters.
“I’d never known anything like it. We went to Hampden Park before we flew out and there were 30,000 people just to wave us goodbye, which was a bit embarrassing, and then we had to drive to Prestwick Airport on the bus and there were thousands more all along the route waving flags and cheering us on.
“It was a crazy time. Unbelievable.”
Though it might have seemed like the Tartan Army were getting a little carried away with themselves, but looking at Scotland’s squad, it’s not hard to understand why.
Donachie and Hartford were vital members of a very good City side, but then there were also the likes of Martin Buchan, Gordon McQueen, John Robertson, Willie Johnstone, Archie Gemmill, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Kenny Burns, Bruce Rioch, Don Masson, Lou Macari and Sandy Jardine.
The majority played for top English clubs, and such was the strength in depth MacLeod had at his disposal, Scotland were more than capable of going far in the tournament.
“We had a great team, but we lost Gordon McQueen with injury, and that was a massive blow for us,” said Donachie.
“He could stop goals at one end and score them at the other end, so that was a big loss.
“Ally was also very loyal to some of the players in the squad and one or two were maybe past their peak.
“I think if he’d played a couple of the younger players coming through – like Graeme Souness - in our opening couple of games, we could have gone on and done really well.”
But the early optimism was soon swept aside as Scotland were beaten 3-1 by a Peru side that many had expected to struggle in the group stages.
However, that was nothing compared with what came next.
The second group game against Iran, would draw the fury of the thousands of Scotland supporters who had travelled to Argentina, as MacLeod’s side were held 1-1 by the international minnows.
The Tartan Army protested at the final whistle and sang ‘We want our money back!’ as their dream of progressing to the next phase all but ended.
“I think our supporters underestimated how good Iran were,” said Donachie.
“We were a nation of around five million, whereas Iran were an equally football crazy nation of more than 40 million.
“We were devastated that we’d not won and were aware everyone expected us to hammer Iran, but it didn’t happen for various reasons.
“There are lots of stories on and off the pitch about Argentina ’78 and there were many of our fans who went over but never came back, marrying Argentinians or never finding their way home and finding a new life in South America.”
It was mission impossible for Scotland, who went into their final game against Holland needing to win by three clear goals to finish second in the group and go through to the next phase.
But MacLeod shuffled his pack, played Souness in the middle and for a time, it looked like the dream was back on as Scotland opened a 3-1 lead over a very good Dutch side.
Archie Gemmill’s superb solo goal with 22 minutes to play meant one more for the Scots and Holland would be out, and Scotland were through.
It was a thrilling game...
But hopes were quickly extinguished as Johnny Rep scored for the Dutch four minutes later and though Scotland won 3-2, it had been too little, too late.
Scotland had shown just how good they could be, but time had run out and they were soon on the plane back to Glasgow.
“It was a fantastic experience and South America is a wonderful place to play football,” recalled Donachie.
“We travelled first class to Argentina but flew home economy class – that tells its own story, doesn’t it?
“Holland, who we’d beaten well, went onto the final against Argentina and struck the post in the last minute with the score at 1-1. Had that gone in we’d have beaten the eventual winners of the World Cup, but Argentina went on to win 2-1 in extra time.
“I’ll be watching this year’s tournament with interest. I’ve always been a big fan of Brazil, but it would be nice to see an African side do really well in Qatar.
“The African nations certainly have the players but maybe have underperformed in past tournaments.
“The heat will suit African and South American sides, but any team can beat anyone else in a one-off game, so it’s impossible to predict.”
Below are eight City players who never made it to the World Cup - but deserved to...
Each would have graced the biggest stage in the football, but either due to their nation not qualifying, injury or non-selection, they never played at a World Cup.
We are only going back as far as 1970, as there were some fantastic players before then, and some fantastic City stars who played for us before there even was a World Cup, which was first held in 1930.
So, here's a List where all included probably wish they weren't...
There’s little doubt that Georgi Kinkladze would have lit up the world stage had he been given the opportunity.
His peak years were arguably the mid-1990s, but his nation – Georgia – had been drawn in a qualifying group for the 1998 World Cup that included England, Italy, and Poland and though the Georgians tied for third, they didn’t progress and Kinky’s chance was gone.
Had Ali Benarbia elected to play for France, where he grew up and played much of his career, he could arguably have ended up a World Cup winner.
France hosted – and won - the 1998 World Cup – and Ali, who was at Monaco and then Bordeaux during qualification – would surely have made Les Bleus squad had he taken French citizenship.
He was voted the Ligue 1 Player of the Year for 1998-99, earning him a move to PSG, but the call from France never came.
Until then, Ali had never been capped by his birth nation, Algeria, because he felt the running of the national team and safety assurances were poor for several years.
He finally played for Algeria at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations – the biggest tournament of his career.
You just know Shaun Goater would have scored at the World Cup.
Shin, backside, wrong-foot or thigh, one of our all-time greatest goalscorer’s always found a way!
But hailing from the beautiful island of Bermuda, the World Cup qualification phase was a close as Goat and Bermuda got.
Though Joe did go to the 1982 World Cup as part of the England squad, he was third choice keeper behind Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence.
England made the second phase and were unbeaten in the tournament, but Big Joe didn’t make the bench in any of the five games.
He was incredibly unlucky to win just nine caps for his country, with Shilton and Clemence always the preferred choice by a succession of England managers – and though both were excellent goalkeepers, Corrigan was at worst their equal and in the eyes of many City fans, better than both his contemporaries.
A fractured leg in the 1970 League Cup final could not have been timed any worse for Mike Summerbee.
It ruled the City winger out of the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in April of that same year and cost Buzzer the chance of joining Colin Bell and Francis Lee at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico – still lauded as one of the best tournaments ever.
The 27-year-old Buzzer was at the peak of his powers at the time, but injury struck and we never got to see the 'Holy Trinity' that was Bell, Lee and Summerbee roar for the Three Lions at a World Cup.
That gifted inside left Neil Young never won an England cap remains a mystery to this day.
An integral member of the golden era of Joe Mercer and Malcolm Allison’s wonderful City team, he was continually overlooked by England boss Sir Alf Ramsey.
Young would have graced the 1970 World Cup and been a huge asset to Ramsey’s side, but the multi-trophy winner was left in the cold instead of being able to shine in the Mexican sun.
When Sir Bobby Robson included City’s Paul Lake in his provisional 30-man England squad for the 1990 World Cup, it was no real surprise.
The gifted youngster was tipped to lead his country before long, but the decision to play Lake as a winger in an England Under-21 game on the run up to Robson naming the final World Cup squad, and poor timing with a number of injuries meant the 21-year-old was left out.
A serious knee injury sustained in 1990 would be the beginning of the end for one of the most talented and versatile homegrown players City ever produced and he never graced the full England squad.
A gifted playmaker who won 78 caps for Israel, Eyal Berkovic was unlucky that he never featured in a major tournament.
Israel have only made the World Cup finals on one occasion – in 1970 – sadly way before Berkovic’s time.
Given the chance, there is no doubt the talented Israeli could have it up any World Cup stage.
The World Cup legend whose star shone briefly, but brightly...
The 1978 World Cup in Argentina resulted in the first real influx of foreign talent into English football. Tottenham signed Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricky Villa; Birmingham City brought in Alberto Tarantini and City targeted Poland captain Kaziu Deyna – but it would be no ordinary transfer…
Poland had reached the second phase of possibly the most iconic World Cup ever, Argentina ’78. Led by graceful captain Kazimierz Deyna, the Poles topped their group but were unfortunate to face hosts Argentina and Brazil in the next group stage.
City had been watching the tournament closely and Deyna had profile and standing that made him a firm target. Though he had just turned 31 years-old, Malcolm Allison and Tony Book identified Deyna as a player who could add a touch of finesse to an already-strong squad.
But first, there was red tape to cut through – and plenty of it.
Deyna was still a captain in the Polish army and City had to first secure his release from military service, then secure a deal with his club Legia.
The clubs agreed a fee of around £100,000 but the Polish side weren’t interested in a straight cash deal as such – they wanted electronic hardware, such as photocopiers, printers and the like. It was a tad bizarre to say the least, but City, then sponsored by electronics giant Brother, agreed and paid the transfer fee in state-of-the-art hardware.
Negotiations and complexities meant that the transfer would drag on and it wasn’t until November 1978 that the graceful Pole finally signed for City, but it proved to be the start of what was to be a largely frustrating stay in Manchester. Deyna wasn’t match-fit when he arrived, and it was a further fortnight before he made his league debut at home to Ipswich Town.
His appearance added around 6,000 to the Maine Road gate, but City lost 2-1 to Bobby Robson’s side, though the Pole had shown flashes of what he was capable of during the game.
Deyna was unfortunate to have arrived at the start of what would be a long, steady decline of the Blues that would stretch for more than two decades, though the more immediate slump in form was all that mattered at the time.
City would fail to win for 15 games and Deyna’s injury woes meant by mid-March he had made just two appearances and it wasn’t until the final eight games of the campaign that he returned to the side fully fit and made a genuine impact. By that point, the Blues were in deep trouble and in real danger of relegation, but Deyna would prove pivotal in helping City survive.
His late stooping header against Middlesbrough in mid-April was his first goal for the Club and by the end of the campaign, he’d bagged six goals in just four home appearances. Against Aston Villa in the final match of the season, he bent a free-kick over the wall into the top corner of the net and received a rapturous ovation from the Maine Road crowd, who had, quite frankly, never seen the like before.
Deyna’s grace and poise had all-too rarely been seen on these shores and he proved a popular figure on the terraces – a talisman in troubled times. Ultimately, City comfortably avoided the drop and fans wondered what a firing-on-all cylinders Deyna could do in 1979/80 – his first full campaign at Maine Road. The answer was more stop-start runs in the side, more flashes of brilliance and more long absences with injury.
When he did get into his stride, he scored goals and also made them for team-mates. His volley against Borussia Monchengladbach in the second leg of City’s UEFA Cup quarter-final was proof that he had the ability to score against the very best, but some questioned his commitment to City with a number of unspecified, niggling injuries curtailing his appearances that season to half of what they should have been.
Book and Malcolm Allison were sacked in 1980 and John Bond took over. After assessing the situation, Bond shipped Deyna out of Maine Road and off to North America where he joined the San Jose Earthquakes and would enjoy a productive period during his time in the States. He also appeared, briefly, in the 1981 movie ‘Escape to Victory’ alongside Mike Summerbee and the likes of Pele, Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine.
When he had played, the fans loved him and he was capable of lifting a drab game with a moment of brilliance, but frustrating would be the best way of describing Deyna’s time with City.
There was no doubting that he was a world class talent, and he is still adored in his homeland as one of Poland’s greatest ever stars even today. But he was past his prime when he joined the Blues and had come to a club on the brink of turmoil. The timings just hadn’t been right for either party. Tragically, Kaziu died in a car crash on September 1, 1989 in San Diego, California. He was only 41-years-old.
Trivia: Former club Legia Warsaw later retired Deyna’s No.10 shirt in his honour and in 1994, a Polish Football Association and Polish sports newspaper poll voted Kaziu the greatest Polish player of all time. A fitting epitaph for a graceful talent.
Karen Bardsley knows a thing or two about World Cups...
The former City No.1 – one of the first players to sign up for the relaunched Manchester City Women’s team in 2013 – has played in three World Cup tournaments, not to mention the Olympic Games and European Championships.
‘KB’ also won 81 caps for England over an incredible 17-year career during which she was the nation’s No.1 for much of the time.
After retiring earlier this year, KB has returned to the Club she loves as a Project Officer – a new and evolving role that will develop as time moves along – but one she is relishing undertaking.
But, back to the World Cup – and a competition that has many memories for the Lionesses legend.
“My first memory of a World Cup is USA ’94 when I was aged nine and living in California,” she said.
“There was a youth tournament that Disney organised in LA and there were all these teams from the American Youth Organisation, and it was like a mini World Cup with a parade and an opening ceremony - it was great!
“The USA Men’s Team visited during the tournament, and I must have gone up to get Eric Wynalda’s autograph maybe 10 times!
“That was probably my first exposure to the World Cup as a spectator. I was a midfielder for my junior side at the time – I just loved running around, but I didn’t play that much as I was often a sub more often than not.
“In watched the final between Brazil and Italy and recall Roberto Baggio missing a penalty in the shoot-out. Then I heard that Andres Escobar of Colombia had been shot on his return home for scoring an own goal or something.
“All that sticks in my mind. In 1998, I was still in California and me and my friends would stay up watching the World Cup in France, but the time difference made it difficult.
“Then there was 2014 when Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final and another moment that sticks in my mind was a flying Robin van Persie header against Spain at the 2018 tournament.
“So, lots of memories as a fan or spectator.
With her Californian accent, the Santa Monica-born keeper is often asked how she ended up playing for England – but the story is actually more straightforward than it might first appear...
“As a player, my first World Cup with England was at the tournament in Germany back in 2011. I’d never experienced the sort of crowds we got there before or that sort of treatment or attention," she said.
“It was really exciting, but I was so nervous. As we progressed, I felt I was playing better and better and we played France in the quarter-finals, but then we lost on penalties.
“I saved one early on, but we missed two and went out and I was left wondering whether I got too excited when I saved one early on and whether I was too amped to save the others. These are the things you think of afterwards.
“We’d done well to get so far, but had been up against it in a lot of games, so we’d maybe ridden our luck a bit, but it was a great experience and my first real taste of travelling around with England.”
With her Californian accent, the Santa Monica-born keeper is often asked how she ended up playing for England – but the story is actually more straightforward than it might first appear.
“Pretty early on in my childhood, when I realised I could, I wanted to play for England,” she said.
“My whole family is English, and my parents were originally based in Greater Manchester before they moved out to the States, so we’ve sort of switched around.
“My home life in California was very English – we’d have tea and biscuits and other stuff, and while it seemed odd to my friends, it felt normal to me.
“At the weekend, my uncle would call from England and we’d all chat – he was a diehard United fan – and he’d send me the free wallcharts you used to get free in newspapers at the start of the season and I’d stick them up in my bedroom,.
“I wanted to represent my heritage and though I was called up for a few USA youth team meetings, all the while I was researching whether England had a women’s team!
“As I found out more, and learned about England players, I clipped up videos of myself playing to and sent them to the FA 'for the attention of Hope Powell' the manager. I harassed the FA for years!
“But eventually, they came out to the US and invited me to a training camp, so I guess my tenacity paid off!”
“We broke down a lot of barriers along the way to the semi-finals and we won the third place play-off match, so I got to bring back a bronze medal.”
KB flourished with Lionesses, and having joined Lincoln to begin with, City came knocking in 2013 and she became one of the pioneers for our Club’s women’s team.
In 2015, as a City player, she played at her second World Cup.
“That was a big deal for me and women’s football,” she recalled.
“We broke down a lot of barriers along the way to the semi-finals and we won the third place play-off match, so I got to bring back a bronze medal.
“I went into the tournament not knowing if I was still enjoying playing football, but in the end just went for it and it was the best decision I made.
“I played progressively better because my confidence went up by the game as the tournament went on and after we beat Norway, we just kicked on.
“We eventually lost to Japan on penalties in the semi, but the camaraderie was incredible, and we refocused to beat Germany and took third place felt like we’d won gold!
“I think the impact it had on the game in England as a result was sizeable and we almost went that one step further in 2019 in France.
“Again, I felt I was doing really well and was so confident and was thinking, 'how can we not win this?' - but I got hurt in the quarter-final against Norway when my tendon ripped off – and that meant I would miss the game against the team I wanted to play against the most – the US –arrghh! In the semi-final of the World Cup, too.
“That was tough. I’d been injured in the game, but after the final whistle I was so happy and I had Steph on my shoulders celebrating – but the next day I was in agony.
“We looked at all the options – could we strap it up or inject it? By matchday minus one, I hadn’t done any training, so I took part in the session, and it was OK until I did some kicking, and I did more damage.
“As it was an open session, I had to get up and put a smile on my face because the media were attending, and we didn’t want to reveal I was struggling.
“I was asked later by the coaching staff if the game went to penalties against USA, would I be able to come on? So we got a crash mat in one of the hotel rooms and one of the backroom team threw a stuffed lion we were taking around with us to dive at and it felt OK, so it was agreed I’d be on the bench for the semi and come on of we went to a shoot-out.
“The whole world thought I’d been dropped but I was injured. We were losing 2-1 when we got a penalty on 84 minutes and I started to prepare to come on for the shoot-out, but Steph (Houghton) saw the spot-kick saved and not long after, the final whistle went, and we were out.
“So, lots of memories and I’m looking forward to hopefully England doing well in Qatar. It will be different because the summer World Cups are a big social event that I love and I’ll miss that this time round, as will a lot of people.”
Each month we take a look at a memorable City goal, as recalled by the scorer.
And with the World Cup now underway, we spoke with one of our former defenders who went on to actually manage at a World Cup.
Mick McCarthy is one of the game’s most popular characters having played and managed for the best part of five decades.
Mick spent four seasons with City after joining from Barnsley in 1983, going on to make 157 appearances.
He later went into club management, most notably with Millwall, Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Wolves and guided the Republic of Ireland to the 2002 World Cup.
His most memorable goal for City was undoubtedly his thumping header against United in 1986.
So, Mick… take us through it!
“I know the game was live on TV which was a bit of a novelty at that time – it wasn’t a Saturday evening or anything like that, but maybe Sunday lunchtime.
“I remember, United scored first – I think – when Frank Stapleton put them ahead and though he wasn’t my man as the ball came in, the commentator blamed me for it which I wasn’t that happy about!
“But, maybe within a minute, we were level. It might have been Neil McNab that crossed it in from the left, but I knew I had the beating of their defenders, so I launched myself on to it and thumped a header past United keeper Chris Turner to make it 1-1.
“Turner never got near it and I remember being asked afterwards about the goal and I said I hadn’t been aiming at the goal, I was trying to get Helen the Bell behind the goal to stop her ringing!
“About five minutes later I almost got another, but it went straight at the keeper this time. It was my last City goal, and I only scored three in my time with the club so that was a decent one.”
City have had some wonderful talents feature at the World Cup.
So, creating a Best XI should have been very easy – but we wanted to make it a bit harder than just reeling off name after name from recent seasons.
With that in mind, only one representative is allowed from any one nation – the only other caveat being they have to have featured at a World Cup tournament.
It meant some very tough decisions needed to be taken - here is the end result…
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Keeper: Ederson (BRA)
It just has to be, doesn’t it? If this team is going to play from the back, you might as well go for the best in the business.
Right-back: Joao Cancelo (POR)
Versatility and technique win Joao the right-back role. It means Pablo Zabaleta has to take a place on the bench and with so many England players available, that means no place for Kyle Walker.
Left-back: Aleks Kolarov (SER)
For set-pieces and superb delivery from the left-flank, Aleks Kolarov gets the nod on this occasion.
Centre-back: John Stones
The inclusion of John Stones as the sole England representative ruled out a whole host of other English players under the 'one from each country' 'ruling. Stones is included on merit and is another footballing defender in our Best XI.
Centre-back: Richard Dunne
A natural leader and towering presence in defence, Richard Dunne is our Republic of Ireland star.
Holding midfielder: Yaya Toure
Ivory Coast powerhouse Yaya Toure gets in ahead of Kolo, with the defensive options plentiful. Yaya would have to play a deeper role in this team and play with positional discipline.
Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne
When you are choosing between Vincent Kompany and Kevin De Bruyne for just one spot, the only question is – how? It is impossible and a no-win situation, and not including one or the other seems wrong. However, there can be only one, and we’ve gone for the world’s best midfielder over our greatest captain on this occasion.
Midfielder: David Silva
Spain’s one representative is El Mago himself, David Silva. It’s what’s known as a ‘shoo-in’.
Midfielder: Asa Hartford
Scotland’s representative is the excellent Asa Hartford, a scheming midfielder full inventiveness and industry. A fantastic addition to this team.
Centre-forward: Edin Dzeko
Our Bosnian crowd favourite gets in the Best City World Cup XI and would be an excellent foil for his striker partner…
Centre-forward: Sergio Aguero
Just having one Argentinian in this team was, again, not easy, but the rules are the rules and it’s fair to say our all-time record goal-scorer was always going to get in this side.
Subs: Colin Bell, Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo, Rodrigo, Riyad Mahrez, Patrick Vieira
Two days prior to Liverpool’s final game of the 1989/90 season, I was at their Melwood Training ground for something even more seismic than training the champions as they were at that time.
New Order - along with John Barnes were recording the video for their World Cup anthem - 'World in Motion' - there. I was duly dispatched behind enemy lines for the NME to shoot a cover story.
I was determined not to use a red or white England shirt for my NME cover shot and it took me ages to find a replica third choice strip – even the FA didn’t have one.
However, I wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass of getting a sky blue football shirt on our cover - and I eventually got one at a sports shop in London. I also managed to get John Barnes to wear a New Order “Touched by the Hand of God” T shirt - an oblique reference to Maradona in ’86 I felt … and Bernard wore the England shirt. Then, mid-way through the filming, Bernard disappeared only to reappear as Vegas era Elvis. When asked why, he just said "I thought it’d work as an idea.” He refused to take the rhinestone studded jumpsuit off - although he was talked into removing the Elvis wig - and for the rest of the shoot he remained dressed as Elvis.
The record was an instant hit and became New Order’s only British chart topping single. The Fall’s Mark E Smith wasn’t as enamoured as the rest of the country though. Upon reviewing it for the NME with The Farm’s Peter Hooton, he said, "It's pandering to the middle classes who've just discovered football. It's smug, self-congratulatory, a yuppie football song. If they'd won the World Cup then they could have come home and made a bloody record.”
Hooton was similarly disenchanted saying “ I know this. It's The Fall's official World Cup theme. The Fall or New Order - one of them old Manchester bands! To me, this is more embarrassing than your average tacky old football [song]. Last year's Tranmere Rovers song was better. They've made an effort to be serious and it sounds pathetic. The words are pathetic. I'd rather have Alan Ball singing 'Back Home'. When was the last time an England player ever expressed himself?”
In the NME feature that ran with the photos, Bernard said of the song, “This should be the last straw for Joy Division fans.” However the fact that both bands are still revered worldwide is proof that musicians don’t always understand why fans love them so much.
QATAR STADIUMS GUIDE
For our World Cup special we return to 2010 and the first interview with our then newly crowned world champion David Silva…
If you believe everything you read in the papers, there were only two clubs in with a chance of signing David Silva this summer – Chelsea and City. Both sides were keen on adding creativity to their midfield and the Valencia play-maker fitted the bill perfectly.
With the Blues keen to tie up as many transfer deals as possible before the World Cup, it quickly became clear that wasn’t going to be possible with a number of the potential targets Robert Mancini had identified.
Jerome Boateng was secured on the eve of the South Africa tournament but Silva and Yaya Toure entered the competition as Valencia and Barcelona employees respectively. It was unusual, then, that Silva, not wanting any distractions before embarking on what would be a glorious journey with his country, decided to accept City’s overtures while he was away with Spain.
A deal in principle was agreed and Silva announced he would be a Manchester City player when the World Cup finished while thanking Valencia, already stripped of the services of the talismanic David Villa, for his time with the club.
"Firstly I would like to thank Valencia as a club and all of their loyal fans, and my team-mates there and staff,” he said.
"I enjoyed six years at Valencia, they discovered me as a footballer and they will always be a special club for me.
"The time is right for me to seek a new challenge, and I am thrilled about playing in England with Manchester City.
"I believe the Premier League is one of the best competitions in the world and I want to bring success to City and win trophies for them."
Of course, there has been plenty of wa