“Being at City changed my life. I'm proud of what we did together and I feel emotional that it has been recognised like this.”
“I didn't really expect to be recognised by such a great club in that way.”
Vincent Kompany and David Silva’s reactions to the unveiling of their statues at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday 28 August provide ample demonstration of a quality they both share.
Two of the modern era’s Premier League heavyweights and, without question, both among the finest footballers to don the Sky-Blue shirt, the duo amassed 25 domestic titles and 796 appearances for City across a combined 12-year period.
But despite their on-pitch assets, from Kompany’s commanding, inspirational leadership to Silva’s sumptuous technical panache, their humility and professionalism has always shone through.
In an ever-changing footballing landscape, at a Club constantly striving to hit new heights and progress year upon year, Kompany and Silva were two of the constants to stand the test of time.
It seems fitting therefore that their Manchester City legacy be recognised with a piece of artwork specifically designed for that very purpose.
In recognition of their transformative contributions, City Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak commissioned statues of Silva and Kompany at the end of their City careers.
Sergio Aguero is also being recognised with a statue, which will be revealed in the near future.
"I always imagined a time when we would have a trophy cabinet that shows consistent winnings in every competition we played."
"With that dream for that to happen you needed giants, legends, players who were going to transform this team."
"When you look at Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero, what they have done for the history of this Club… I think it’s clear to all."
"We need statues for these players."
Andy Scott is the man behind each of the sculptures, adding the works to his ever-growing and hugely decorated portfolio of large-scale figurative pieces.
The Glaswegian is one of the finest and most respected sculptors of his generation and was tasked by the Club in 2020 to bring our City legends to life in statue form.
By no means was Scott delving into unfamiliar territory by taking on a project of this magnitude, and a meticulous period of preparation ensued following his successful commission.
The exhaustive 14-month production process kicked off with ‘pages and pages’ of initial sketches through to the successful transportation and construction of each individual component in Manchester in August 2021.
To make that already truly impressive feat all the more phenomenal, Scott and his team, as well as representatives from Manchester City, took on the challenge entirely remotely; demonstrating the adaptation, desire and flexibility that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us all.
And while the Glaswegian is rightfully delighted with the final result, he was quick to point out that the sculptures wouldn’t have been possible without a collective effort from those at the Club and around him.
“Covid made things more complicated for sure. But like everybody else around the world you have to modify and just make the best of the situation as you can,” he insisted.
“We did that, and I think it’s worked out very well.
“One thing that’s overlooked is that there’s a whole team involved in a project like this. In a way, I’m merely the team’s centre-forward! It’s not just me, and I think it’s important everyone knows that.
“Rob Little helped me a lot in my studio in Philadelphia, he did a fantastic job. There’s my wife Hanneke behind the scenes managing me and everything that’s involved with that, then you’ve got all the folks here at Manchester City, the freight handlers who got everything here, the galvanising company who dipped the statues in the zinc, and the guys who constructed the plinths.
“You need all of them to buy into a project. It depends on them as much as I depend on my own two hands.”
And given the reactions of Silva and Kompany themselves, that process has certainly paid off.
“When I first saw the statue, I felt good, I thought it was like me. This statue really represents the way I like to play. It really reminds me of those times I was on the pitch playing and that moment when I had to find the striker.”
Head up, ball glued to the left foot as he drives forward, the image of David Silva’s statue is seemingly gleaned from a moment that City supporters experienced thousands of times.
Whether being witnessed in the flesh across his decade of service or in galvanised steel for many years to come, it personifies the excitement and anticipation that oozed from the terraces when El Mago was in the mood.
On the other hand, Kompany’s pose can be pinpointed to a particular moment in both his and the Club’s storied past.
When Mike Dean blew the full-time whistle on 6 May 2019, City supporters around the world simultaneously let out a roar of jubilation and a sigh of relief.
Pep Guardiola’s men had secured a crucial 1-0 win over Leicester at the Etihad Stadium, with a thunderbolt from Kompany enough to breach the Foxes’ stubborn rearguard.
Arms outstretched with fists clenched, our skipper had been the hero under the lights, and taken City to within three points of retaining the Premier League title, with Liverpool waiting in the wings to pounce on even the slightest slipup.
Given the Belgian’s reaction to the statue celebrating his time at the Club, it’s clear to see that the emotion etched across his face on that night was heartfelt.
“I didn't really expect to be recognised by such a great club in that way. My wife is from Manchester, my kids are born in Manchester, and they go back to a place where they can see something that represents what their dad has achieved and that is something that I can't describe.
"The first time I saw the statue I couldn't believe how big it was, but then again, I'm a big boy, so fair enough! And then especially the pose, for me it means a lot.”
With a statue marking our leading scorer Sergio Aguero on the way, Scott’s work with Manchester City is far from over.
It’s a project that the sculptor can’t wait to get underway and, like those of Silva and Kompany, one which he’s honoured to be trusted with.
“I’m hopeful that as soon as I get back to the studio in a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll roll my sleeves up and be back on the tools and that’ll start to take shape.
“I’m very much looking forward to that. That’ll keep me going through the freezing cold Philadelphia winter.
“What an absolute honour. It’s a really emotional experience to have your work accepted and be told you’ve won a commission. It’s fantastic and a very profound, humbling thing.
“I hope that Manchester City fans enjoy these artworks and appreciate them as a celebration of these iconic footballers.
“I've been deeply honoured to have been asked to do them, and I've done my level best to do justice to them and their achievements.”